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
  15-21.11.14, No. 550  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

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Foreign Policy

Spotlight: China, Myanmar pledge to boost friendship, strategic cooperation (Xinhua)
2014-11-15
China and Myanmar on Friday signed a host of deals ranging from trade and agriculture to energy cooperation as the two Asian neighbors vowed to elevate their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership amid reaffirmed friendship. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Myanmar President U Thein Sein witnessed the signing of the cooperation documents after their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar's capital. Li, who paid an official visit to the southeast Asian country after attending a series of leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation, also met with U Shwe Mann, Speaker of Myanmar's Union Parliament and the House of Representatives, and visited a local school where he pledged more scholarships and opportunities for Myanmar students to study in China. It was the premier's first trip to Myanmar since he took office last year. Facing profound and complex changes in regional and global situations, China and Myanmar are sharing more common interests in development and security, the two sides agreed in a joint statement. The document reaffirmed the two countries' willingness to deepen cooperation in a wide range of areas including agriculture, marine economy, finance, interconnectivity, science, technology, environmental protection, society and people-to-people exchanges. Calling his country and Myanmar "time-honored friendly neighbors," Li suggested while meeting U Thein Sein that the two nations maintain high-level exchanges, give full play to the role of consultative mechanisms between their governments and political parties, enhance strategic communication and deepen political mutual trust. China stands ready to work with Myanmar to advance the construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, so as to promote interconnectivity, social and economic development in Myanmar and the region, the premier said. The two countries should conduct cooperation on large-scale projects and the Chinese government supports its enterprises to participate in Myanmar's infrastructure construction to make sure that more local people could benefit from bilateral cooperation, according to Li. His proposals were responded actively by the Myanmar side. U Thein Sein said that his country will support and actively participate in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. […] Official data show that bilateral trade reached 10.15 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, a tenfold increase over the past decade. The volume grew by 185.1 percent to 17.75 billion dollars from January to September this year. […] ^ top ^

BRICS countries should raise their voice in global economic governance: Chinese president (Xinhua)
2014-11-15
The BRICS countries should actively participate in international multilateral cooperation and raise their voice in global economic governance, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Saturday. Xi made the remarks while meeting with other leaders of the BRICS countries on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit. Economic cooperation serves as the lasting power house for the development of the BRICS countries, Xi said when meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The BRICS countries should remain committed to drafting long-term blueprint for economic cooperation and forging a closer economic partnership by facilitating market inter-linkages, financial integration, infrastructure connectivity as well as people-to-people contacts, he said. All sides should step up efforts to the establishment of a new development bank and a contingency reserve arrangement since both are of great significance, he added. The cooperation between the BRICS countries should be driven by the two "wheels" of economy and politics so that the BRICS can act as not only the world's economic engine, but also a shield for world peace, said the Chinese president. The BRICS countries should further their cooperation and coordination in world's politics and security to safeguard the world's fairness and justice, Xi said. All sides should also strengthen coordination and cooperation at the G20 summit to help achieve positive results, he said. On the just-concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, Xi said the leaders decided to build future-oriented Asia-Pacific partnership, construct an open economy featuring development and innovation, interlinked growth and interests integration, and starts setting up an Asia-Pacific free trade zone. The APEC meeting also drafted a blueprint for inter-connectivity and reached consensus on economic innovation, reform and growth, Xi said. The leaders called on emerging economies to strive for a sustained growth and actively promote global economic governance. They also called on related developed countries to adopt responsible monetary polices to prevent spillover effect, expand investment and create sustained growth forces. Xi met other BRICS leaders hours ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane. He arrived here late Friday to attend the summit and will later pay a state visit to Australia. ^ top ^

Xi proposes reinforcing global economy's anti-risk capacity (Xinhua)
2014-11-16
Chinese President Xi Jinping raised four proposals for strengthening the world economy's anti-risk capacity during the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit here on Sunday. Firstly, the world should continue to reform the international financial system and speed up the International Monetary Fund quota reform, Xi told the second day of the G20 Summit. Secondly, the world should enhance global cooperation in collecting tax, crack down on international tax evasion and help the developing countries and low-income countries improve their abilities in collecting and managing tax, Xi said. Thirdly, the world should deepen cooperation in anti-corruption, Xi said. Fourthly, the world should exert more efforts to deal with the issue of development and facilitate the developing countries to develop their economies by establishing the concept of promoting development through growth while stimulating growth through development, he said. On the issue of energy, Xi said the G20 have to build a partnership in energy cooperation, nurture a free and open global energy market with orderly competition and efficient supervision, jointly maintain stability of energy prices and market, improve energy efficiency, formulate and improve global energy governance principles so as to form a new cooperation pattern of equal negotiations and common development among consumer, producer and transit countries. Xi also declared that China will release data of its oil stocks regularly. Regarding international trade, Xi said trade protectionism only delivers damage to others without serving one's own benefits. The G20 is capable of and obliged to building a united, open and universally benefiting global market, promoting an early completion of the Doha round of global trade negotiations, Xi said. The G20 summit also discussed the Ebola epidemic and agreed that the grouping should play a bigger role in disease control and prevention as well as disaster relief. Xi arrived here late Friday for the G20 Summit and a state visit to Australia. ^ top ^

China tackles Ebola in Liberia (Global Times)
2014-11-17
China has dispatched more than 160 military medical workers to operate an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia - the first time that China has consigned a large military medical group overseas. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) workers arrived in Monrovia on Saturday and will start to operate the 100-bed treatment center on November 25, China's Embassy in Liberia told the Global Times on Sunday. Unlike countries such as the United States that have constructed treatment centers without dispatching operational staff, China is the only country that will both build and operate a clinic in the Ebola-stricken areas, the secretary of the Ambassador said. Liberia, the worst-hit country in the Ebola epidemic that began in March, had witnessed 2,812 deaths out of a total of 6,878 reported cases in the country as of Friday, according to the latest figures by the World Health Organization. "The (PLA) contingent includes 62 medical technicians and 68 nurses, most of whom had participated in the combat against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), earthquake relief, multinational joint military exercises and peacekeeping operations," Wang Yungui, the team head, was quoted by China News Service as saying on Saturday. Management personnel and technicians also joined the team to support the operation of the clinic, the secretary said. The medical personnel, most of whom are from the infectious disease and public health divisions at Third Military Medical University in Southwest China's city of Chongqing, will treat patients diagnosed with Ebola, observe people with suspected Ebola infections and train local medical workers, the secretary said. Training local medical personnel is one of the major focuses for the team, as the restoration of the paralyzed public health system depends on the locals, the secretary added. Upon the arrival of the medical workers, China's Ambassador, Zhang Yue, and Liberia's Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, signed a protocol on the establishment and operation of the treatment center, as well as an agreement that China will provide Liberia with medical supplies worth 300 million yuan ($48.9 million), the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday. The team is expected to stay in Monrovia for two months, after which another contingent of around 160 medical workers will take over, the secretary noted. Another three teams of Chinese medical workers and health officials also left for West Africa, the area afflicted by Ebola, late Friday to help in the fight against the disease, China Radio International reported on Saturday. As of now, China has sent more than 300 medical staff and public health experts to West African countries. ^ top ^

China, Australia conclude FTA talks, pledge zero tariffs (Xinhua)
2014-11-17
China and Australia on Monday signed a declaration of intent on practically concluding bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). According to the results of the nine-year-long talks, Australia will eventually remove tariffs on all goods imported from China, and a vast majority of Australian products will enter China tariff-free. As regards investment, the pair agreed to grant each other the most favored nation status once the FTA takes effect. They will greatly lower the review thresholds for corporate investment, and increase market access opportunities, predictability and transparency for such investment. The two sides also committed themselves to opening up numerous service sectors to each other with high quality. The China-Australia FTA will be another comprehensive, high-level free trade deal China has finalized with a major economy in the Asia-Pacific region. A week ago, Beijing and Seoul announced the conclusion of their substantive FTA talks. The agreement will cover more than 10 areas, including trade in goods and services, investment and trade rules, as well as such subjects as e-commerce and government procurement. Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott witnessed the signing of the declaration of intent by Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb. The conclusion of bilateral FTA talks "is a big event worth celebrating in our economic and trade relations," Xi told Abbott in their talks on Monday. […] China and Australia have witnessed increasingly closer ties since the two countries forged diplomatic relations 42 years ago. More than 30 inter-governmental consultation mechanisms have been established, and bilateral trade has expanded 1,500-fold in the past 42 years. The two countries have also engaged in vibrant people-to-people exchanges. China is now Australia's largest trading partner, export market and source of imports. Two-way trade reached 136.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, a year-on-year rise of 11.5 percent. ^ top ^

Likening China to "big guy" in crowd, Xi highlights peaceful development (Xinhua)
2014-11-17
Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping here on Monday likened his country to a "big guy in the crowd" that draws attention and concern, but stressed that the world's most populous nation will continue to pursue a peaceful development path. "China is a large country of over 1.3 billion people. It is like a big guy in the crowd," Xi said while addressing the Australian Federal Parliament. "Others will naturally wonder how the big guy will move and act, and be concerned that the big guy may push them around, stand in their way or take up their place," he said. The Chinese president dismissed those concerns, vowing that his country remains unshakable in its resolve to pursue peaceful and common development, and to promote cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific. "I believe that the world is big enough for all of us to grow together," he said. While China is big in size, Xi said, "our forefathers realized over 2,000 years ago that a warlike state, however big it may be, will eventually fall." "A harmonious and stable domestic environment and a peaceful international environment are what China needs most," he noted, adding that neither turbulence nor war serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. Xi pledged that China will continue to follow a win-win strategy of opening-up, both uphold justice and promote cooperation, develop an open economy and strengthen and expand all-round mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries. "China will never develop itself at the expense of others," Xi said. The president reaffirmed China's commitment to building friendly relations and partnerships with its neighbors. "We follow the principles of promoting amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and advocate a new vision of Asian security" that features common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, he said. Meanwhile, the president said that the Chinese people will firmly uphold the core interests of China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. "We hold that countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equal," Xi said, emphasizing that "a big country should not bully others, but neither should a small country provoke others." "A country should be judged not by its size but by whether its actions are compatible with international justice," he added. Xi is on a state visit to Australia after attending the Group of Twenty Summit in Brisbane. Australia is the first leg of Xi's ongoing three-nation tour, which will also take him to New Zealand and Fiji. ^ top ^

China joins global anti-graft institute that trains people to avoid bribes (SCMP)
2014-11-19
China has stepped up its war on graft by joining the International Anti-Corruption Academy, an Austria-based global institute that provides education and training to members on how to effectively combat bribery. Both Hong Kong and Macau were included as part of China's agreement to join the organisation, which comprises 71 United Nations member states and three intergovernmental organisations. The move - announced by government officials yesterday - comes just days after Apec leaders agreed to a proposal by Beijing to set up a network to share information on corruption and deny safe haven to officials implicated in graft cases. "Beijing's growing interest in joining international anti-graft efforts is a gesture to convince the domestic and international public that China is no longer covering up corruption scandals and is actively fighting them," said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political commentator. According to Zhang, senior officials in China are aware of the public anger surrounding corrupt officialdom and are using international initiatives - like the Apec agreement and entry to the academy - to show that the party is listening. "It's also a traditional propaganda strategy - turning bad news into good about how hard officials are trying to solve these problems," Zhang said. Financed by voluntary contributions from its members, the academy, based in the city of Laxenburg, south of Vienna, aims to foster international cooperation and provide technical assistance to better tackle graft, according to a statement on its website. However, the organisation has faced some criticism for offering more style than substance. "The [academy], a recent initiative to tackle corruption, faces challenges," said Bryane Michael, a senior fellow and corruption expert at the law faculty of the University of Hong Kong. "Countries have strong incentives to participate in the body, rather than engage in the tough work of actually fighting corruption at home. The body also faces tough competition from training organisations like Transparency International which do not have the intense political pressures to 'sanitise' their materials and teaching. "But who wouldn't want to join an anti-corruption organisation? Anti-corruption is as uncontroversially good as motherhood and apple pie," he said. ^ top ^

Beijing, Tehran to fight terrorism (Global Times)
2014-11-19
Officials from China and Iran have vowed to expand and deepen their bilateral relations and further enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism at a meeting in Tehran. As Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy, Meng Jianzhu, the head of the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Political and Legal Affairs Commission, said that "China and Iran have broad common interests on anti-terrorism," during a three-day meeting from Saturday to Monday. "China is willing to further strengthen cooperation with Iran and play a positive role in maintaining the security interests of both countries and promoting regional peace and stability," he added. Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazl said China-Iran ties have been improving. They added Iran hopes to further work with China on the Silk Road Economic Belt and is willing to closely coordinate with China in dealing with threats. Experts said the deal is consistent with the strategic interests of both countries. "Iran has supported Iraq in opposing ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and has been cooperating with Iran to protect China from the ISIS threat," Wang Guoxiang, an associate professor at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday. Wang said that China and Iran face similar threats from ISIS. "China faces terrorist threats, especially in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and many terror attacks are linked to overseas terrorists," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. Li added that China has been working with surrounding countries on anti-terrorism. Both countries could share intelligence about terrorist activities and enhance cooperation in law enforcement and security, he stressed. In September, China and Iran conducted joint naval drills in the strategic Persian Gulf that experts consider as a sign of China's expanding role in the Middle East and security interests in that region. ^ top ^

China holds first world Internet conference, urges better governance (Xinhua)
2014-11-20
China held the First Internet Conference in the rivertown of Wuzhen, calling for global Internet interconnectivity and shared governance by all. The conference saw roughly 1,000 Internet professionals, officials and experts from more than 100 countries and regions in attendance. Founders of China's top three Internet companies Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu as well as executives from global giants including Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook all joined the gala. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory note to the ceremony, hoping countries can jointly build a cyberspace of peace, security, openness and cooperation and an international Internet governance system of multilateralism, democracy and transparency. Xi urged better international cooperation, more respect for sovereignty on the Internet and for countries to uphold cyber security following the principle of mutual respect and mutual trust. Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai, who attended the opening ceremony, called for joint efforts of the international community to promote the interconnectivity of Internet infrastructure, prosperity of Internet economy, strengthen the sharing of Internet technologies and to ensure cyberspace safety. Ma added that Internet infrastructure will be one of the prioritized investment areas of the planned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, hoped the attendees would make plans for Internet interconnectivity and shared governance as well as promote consensus and to make a historical contribution for the Internet. […] Boasting 632 million Internet users, China is a lucrative market for all the Internet giants. Linkedin, the world's largest business-oriented social network with more than 300 million users, has been used by many global Chinese enterprises, including Baidu and Tencent, to search for talents, said its founder Reid Hoffman in a speech at the conference on Wednesday. The company launched its Chinese language version in February. Meanwhile, Chinese companies are expanding overseas with their expertise in Internet infrastructure and commercial development. The backbone transmission network of Tanzania, which now has more than 7,560 kilometers throughout the country, was built by China and helped Tanzania become the Internet hub of east Africa, said Tanzanian Minister of Communication, Science and Technology Makame M. Mbarawa in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. […] The three-day conference covers issues on new media, mobile Internet, cross-border e-commerce, cyber terrorism, Internet financing, cyberspace security and Internet governance. ^ top ^

Sino-Australian ties at all-time high, says Xi (SCMP)
2014-11-20
President Xi Jinping hailed China's warmest-ever relations with Australia after a successful state visit yesterday that his counterpart Tony Abbott called among "the most remarkable days of my life". Xi next goes to New Zealand where trade and investment will again be the theme. "With China's strengths in infrastructure and manufacturing and New Zealand's advantages in agricultural science and technology, IT and clean energy, the two countries have much to offer to each other," he said in an open letter to the New Zealand Herald. Xi has been feted in Australia, during the G20 summit in Brisbane and on trips to Sydney, Hobart and Canberra, and he noted that since his first visit in 1988 relations had been "moving forward with a strong momentum". "My personal experience has given me the impression that earth-shaking changes have taken place in this relationship," he said at the Australia-China State and Provincial Leaders Forum in Canberra. "What we have achieved is unimaginable back over two decades ago," he said. He and Abbott had drawn a "new footprint" for relations during his three-day state visit following two days of G20 talks in Brisbane, he said. "We have decided to elevate this relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. This symbolises that our relations will embrace broader prospects," Xi said. During his trip Xi and Abbott sealed a bumper free-trade deal that abolishes tariffs in the lucrative resources and agricultural sectors. They also committed to greater Antarctic cooperation, with Abbott gushing in his praise of the leader of a nation that is Australia's top trading partner. "I have personally felt very privileged these last few days to have spent so much time with President Xi and to have felt so much warmth personally," Abbott said. ^ top ^

China, New Zealand announce upgrade of bilateral relations (Xinhua)
2014-11-20
China and New Zealand have decided to lift their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, said a joint statement Thursday. The decision was announced after talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as well as a meeting between Xi and Governor-General Jerry Mateparae. In the statement, the two sides noted that China became the largest goods trading partner of New Zealand for the first time in 2013, and that the goal of doubling two-way trade to 20 billion New Zealand dollars (15.69 billion U.S. dollars) by 2015 was achieved ahead of schedule. The two countries promised to continue to implement the comprehensive and high-quality free trade agreement (FTA) and fully utilize cooperation mechanisms such as the Joint Trade and Economic Commission and the FTA Joint Commission, the statement said. Concrete and effective measures will be taken to achieve the target of 30 billion New Zealand dollars (23.54 billion dollars) in bilateral trade by 2020, it said. The two countries also expressed their intention to consolidate and expand practical cooperation in agriculture and animal husbandry. On people-to-people exchanges, the two sides pledged to expand cooperation in areas such as tourism, culture, sports, broadcasting and television and Antarctica, according to the statement. Meanwhile, the two countries will work together to further education cooperation, and strengthen cooperation and exchanges in the area of science and technology, it said. The two sides will develop and implement a long-term plan for defense engagement and continue to work constructively on crime and legal issues, it said. The joint statement also noted bilateral cooperation on finance and investment, climate change, and broader regional and international cooperation on non-traditional areas such as anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and disaster prevention and mitigation. The two sides will also maintain close communication and coordination on major international and regional affairs, the statement said. The China-New Zealand relationship, it said, shows that countries with different political systems, history and cultural traditions and at different stages of development can constructively cooperate. Xi started his three-day visit to New Zealand on Wednesday. He will fly to Fiji on Friday to continue his South Pacific trip, which has already taken him to Australia. ^ top ^

China signs its largest foreign deal for Nigeria railway project (Global Times)
2014-11-21
China and Nigeria have agreed Wednesday to build a $ 12 billion railway along Nigeria's coast, China's largest overseas project. China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) signed the contract with Nigeria's Ministry of Transport, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday. The coastal 22-stop railway, which will stretch for 1,402 kilometers, will link Nigeria's economic capital Lagos in the west with Calabar in the east. Trains will travel at 120 kilometers per hour, according to the CRCC. "It is a mutually beneficial project," said CRCC chairman Meng Fengchao, adding that the coastal railway project will adopt Chinese technological standards and result in equipment exports worth $4 billion, which include construction machinery, trains and steel products. "The project will also create up to 200,000 local jobs, directly or indirectly. Up to 30,000 fixed job posts may also be provided when the railway starts operating," Meng said. Bature Gafai, the director of Rail and Mass Transit of Nigeria's Ministry of Transport, said the coastal railway "is vital for the development of Eastern Economic Corridor." "The railway will substantially promote the export of petroleum products … and drive the economic growth in the whole West African region," Gafai was quoted by the People's Daily as saying on May 8 when both sides signed a framework contract for the project. Earlier this month, Mexico abruptly revoked a $4.4 billion high-speed railway deal with the Chinese-led consortium, including CRCC and CSR Corporation Limited, as "doubts and concerns have emerged among the public." "Such incidents are unlikely to happen this time around, as Nigeria and China maintain a friendly relationship, and China has helped the African nation in training railway management personnel every year as well as collaborated with it in other projects," said Wang Mengshu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on Thursday. ^ top ^

Beijing offers Vatican joint bishop review (Global Times)
2014-11-21
China has reportedly proposed to review appointments of bishops jointly with the Vatican. The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) said it hopes to receive the Vatican's reply by the start of 2015, the Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po quoted an anonymous source close to the negotiations as saying. "The Vatican seems to hope for more agreements beyond bishop ordination, such as cancelling the CCPA. But that doesn't appear likely," the source said. Shen Guiping, a religious studies expert at the Central Institute of Socialism, said that China would not dismiss the CCPA only to please the Vatican. But the role of the CCPA may be changed in order to better serve Catholics in China, he said. "For example, the CCPA may strengthen its role as an independent group to bridge the gap between authorities and church members." "The CCPA is a result of Catholic development in China and a historic legacy. Removing the CCPA should not be made a prerequisite to establishing diplomatic ties," Yan Kejia, the director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. The CCPA could not be reached for comment as of press time. China severed diplomatic relations with the Vatican in the 1950s and bishop ordination as well as the CCPA's authority has always been controversial between the two sides. China said it has the sole authority to appoint bishops, while the Vatican's stand is that bishops can only be appointed by the Pope. According to the source, future bishop candidates in China may be selected in each parish and reported to the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) and the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), who will contact the Vatican for consecration if consensus could be reached between the two sides. While the Vatican recognizes most of the members of the BCCCC as bishops, it does not accept the body's validity. Another plan involves two candidates from each parish and the BCCCC shall offer references when recommending candidates to the Vatican, who will then consecrate the bishop. "China has demonstrated great restraint and sincerity in considering the Vatican's side," the source said, adding that several bishop candidates in Shanxi, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces have been selected but have yet to be consecrated. "The agreement could be seen as a positive step towards normalizing diplomatic ties, but prudence is required instead of jumping to a conclusion on diplomatic relations," Yan noted. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior PLA Navy officer leaps to his death from Beijing block, source says (SCMP)
2014-11-16
The deputy commissar of the PLA Navy, Vice Admiral Ma Faxiang, is believed to have committed suicide less than three months after another senior naval officer fell to his death, people close to the armed forces branch said. Ma leapt from a building at a naval complex in Beijing on Thursday, a source told the Sunday Morning Post yesterday. Rear Admiral Jiang Zhonghua of the navy's South Sea Fleet armaments department, plunged to his death from a hotel building in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province on September 2, the source added. "Both Ma and Jiang's deaths are true. Those in the naval circle all know about it," said a former naval official based in Beijing, who asked to remain anonymous. "But none of them can discuss anything about the reasons behind those deaths. You know what I mean?" The ranks of vice admiral and rear admiral are the second- and third-highest in the PLA Navy and correspond with the same ranks in the US and British navies. Political commissars are in charge of ideological matters and education in the branches of the People's Liberation Army. Ma was promoted to rear admiral in 2005, a year after he was assigned as political commissar of the navy's armament department. He was promoted to vice admiral on August 1, 2012, the eve of the anniversary of the PLA's founding. In July, he was elevated to deputy political commissar of the navy. Another independent source said the news of Ma's death had spread across the navy's complex in Gongzhufen, on Beijing's west side, adding it was yet another "big scandal" for the navy following the downfall of former deputy commander Wang Shouye. Wang was given a suspended death sentence in April 2007 for embezzling 160 million yuan of public funds. Ma made his last public appearance on October 22 when he greeted the 17th escort taskforce of the PLA Navy on its return from the Gulf of Aden to Zhoushan, its home port. "However, compared with the biggest tiger Xu Caihou, the cases of Ma, Jiang and even Wang are nothing," the retired naval official said. Xu, 71, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, is the latest senior military figure implicated in President Xi Jinping's anti-graft drive launched after he took control of the Communist Party and military in 2012. ^ top ^

CPC halves Party regulations for better implementation (Xinhua)
2014-11-17
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has cut the number of Party regulations, bylaws and other regulatory documents by more than half to ensure more effective implementation and enforcement. According to a decision by the CPC Central Committee which was published on Monday, about 58.7 percent of 1,178 Party regulatory documents issued by the CPC Central Committee will no longer be effective due to problems such as lack of adaptability or consistency. To date, a total of 322 such documents have been abolished, 369 been declared void and the remaining 487 remain in effect, according to a statement issued by the bureau in charge of Party regulations under the General Office of the CPC Central Committee. Monday's decision is the second of its kind. The CPC Central Committee nullified a batch of such documents in July last year. Starting in June 2012, the CPC Central Committee began conducting a two-year scrutiny of all Party documents issued and found that there were over 23,000 documents on various issues since the founding of the New China in 1949, among which 1,178 are Party regulations, bylaws or regulatory documents. These 1,178 documents are about regulations regarding the Party's organization and activities as well as Party members' conducts, according to the statement. The documents were classified into three categories. Regulations and documents which are obviously obsolete or have been replaced by new ones, as well as those that run counter to the Party's Constitution, policies or the country's Constitution and laws, were abolished. Documents that have expired or have been rendered inexecutable due to a change in the situation were also declared void. The rest will remain effective. However, the decisions also made it clear that 42 of the 487 documents still in effect need to be amended. Local government and Party organizations are also required to clean up undesired regulations at local levels accordingly. The local clean-up work is expected to complete by early next year. ^ top ^

Courts to ramp up punishment for fake drugs (China Daily)
2014-11-19
Makers and distributors of fake and poor quality drugs will face tougher punishments under a new judicial interpretation, according to China's top procuratorate. The interpretation, which takes effect on Dec 1, relates to the drug safety articles in the revised Criminal Law, which was adopted in 2011, said Han Yaoyuan, deputy director of the research department of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. "In recent years, the crimes of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard drugs, relying on modern technology and channels, have occurred repeatedly. These crimes have greatly harmed people's health and threatened social stability," Han said. "The Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly worked out the interpretation in light of judicial practices in recent years to severely punish such crimes." Judicial organs have intensified their efforts against drug-related crimes in the past few years, Han said. From May to December 2011, procuratorates across China approved the arrests of 782 suspects related to producing or selling fake drugs. The number increased to 1,972 last year, according to the SPP. The interpretation specifies the conditions under which harsher punishments can be given and increases punishments fo remployees of medical institutes who are involved in producing or distributing fake or substandard drugs. It also widens the definition of what constitutes producing fake or substandard drugs — for example, producing packages for such drugs with the intention of selling the drugs for profit. Activities that cause greater harm, such as selling fake or ineffective drugs to seriously ill persons or pregnant women, or that are intended for infants, as well as the production of unauthorized anesthetics, blood products or vaccines, will be punished more severely under the interpretation. In recent years, well-organized criminal gangs have appeared that cover the whole chain of drug production and distribution, Han said. "Modern logistics using the Internet and express delivery have become important channels for the flow of fake drugs," Han said. "These have brought more challenges to law enforcement." […] "It is necessary to issue the judicial interpretation to severely punish crimes related to producing and selling fake drugs," said Wang Hongzhi, a medical adviser at Beijing-based advisory firm Allpku. "But intensified law enforcement is needed to reduce such crimes." "It is easy for local authorities to enforce laws on individual criminals but very difficult for them to enforce laws on big enterprises suspected of producing or selling fake or substandard drugs," he said. "Although big drug producers are major tax contributors to the government in some areas, they should also be punished severely if they are found to be in violation of the law." ^ top ^

China unveils energy strategy, targets for 2020 (Xinhua)
2014-11-19
China has issued a long list of targets for its future energy strategy as the country looks to modernize its energy structure. The State Council promised more efficient, self-sufficient, green and innovative energy production and consumption in the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan (2014-2020) published Wednesday. It included a cap set on annual primary energy consumption set at 4.8 billion tonnes of the standard coal equivalent until 2020. This means the annual growth rate of primary energy consumption must be limited within 3.5 percent for the next six years. Annual coal consumption will be held below 4.2 billion tonnes until 2020, 16.3 percent more than the 3.6 billion tonnes burned last year, according to the National Coal Association. The plan placed heavy responsibility on regions around Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, the three biggest city clusters, asking them to wean off too much coal burning. The share of non-fossil fuels in the total primary energy mix will rise to 15 percent by 2020 from 9.8 percent in 2013, according to the plan. The goal of the ratio set for 2030 is around 20 percent, China announced last week during the APEC meetings in Beijing. The share of natural gas will be raised to above 10 percent and that of coal will be reduced to under 62 percent. Production of both shale gas and coalbed methane could reach 30 billion cubic meters by 2020. Construction of new nuclear power plants in eastern coastal areas will begin at a proper time, with feasibility of building such plants in inland regions being studied. Installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 gigawatts and those under construction will top 30 gigawatts by 2020. Installed capacity of hydro-, wind and solar power is expected to stand at 350 gigawatts, 200 gigawatts and 100 gigawatts, respectively. Energy self-sufficiency will be boosted to around 85 percent. China is the world's largest energy consumer and it is quite concerned with environmental pollution and energy security. "China mainly depends on coal and it is exploited rudimentarily," said Zhou Dadi, vice director of the China Energy Research Society, adding that China is a major emitter of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The country is also a major importer of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. Nearly 60 percent of oil and over 30 percent of natural gas currently rely on imports. China used 21.5 percent of global energy and generated 12.3 percent of the world's GDP. "Energy consumption per unit GDP is very high," said Li Yizhong, president of China Federation of Industrial Economics. "These targets are pragmatic and obligatory," said Li. ^ top ^

China's groundwater plagued by pollution (Xinhua)
2014-11-19
A report released by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) revealed the majority of China's groundwater is plagued by pollution, Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday. The ministry described the water quality in an estimated 60 percent of the 4,778 groundwater monitoring sites across the country as "bad" or "very bad" in the report, a further indication of China's deepening water woes. According to the report, 300 of China's 657 major cities have a shortage of water by United Nations standards. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, for example, has water resources per capita of only 286 cubic meters, far below the 500 cubic meters that is the international standard of acute water shortage. China is experiencing a water deficit reaching more than 50 billion cubic meters annually in terms of water consumption, Chen Ming, an official with China's Ministry of Water Resources, told Xinhua. Of China's 31 major freshwater lakes 17 are suffering from pollution at "slight" or "moderate" levels, the report said. Freshwater lakes are major sources of drinking water and have important ecological functions. The report was released as an action plan to protect the country's lakes from pollution was unveiled on Tuesday by China's, National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the MEP. The plan maps out measures to be taken until 2020 to protect 365 lakes in China in which water quality is relatively sound, an attempt to avoid the previous "treatment after pollution" approach. At a press conference ahead of World Environment Day in June, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie said that although China's environment has improved in general, he was "not optimistic" about water quality. The situation could worsen with further economic development and global climate change, Chen said. Experts blamed some local governments and businesses for recklessly pursuing quick money by developing projects that devoured resources and caused and serious pollution. ^ top ^

China Voice: Sharpen "Sword of Damocles" with targeted inspections (Xinhua)
2014-11-19
China's central authority launched the third round of top-level disciplinary inspections of this year on Tuesday, moving to sharpen the "Sword of Damocles" hanging above those in power. Different from previous inspections, all inspections this round will be carried out with specific targets among 13 state-owned groups, including the Ministry of Culture, China State Shipbuilding Corporation, China Unicom and Sinopec. Lasting about a month, the third round of inspections will focus on specific aspects of an organization - whether an individual, a certain project, a fund or a specific incident. The method was first used to probe six state-owned groups earlier this year amid efforts to incorporate new styles of disciplinary inspection and maximize deterrence in the fight against corruption. This style of inspection has much simpler procedures with the latest round being expected to take a month rather than the two months for regular inspections. In addition, team members of targeted inspections often come from more diversified background, be it professional inspectors, officials from the CPC disciplinary agency and the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, or part-timers from government organs such as the National Audit Office. China's anti-graft chief Wang Qishan described the targeted inspection as a way to "infer the whole leopard by spying a spot" at a meeting of the central inspection team on Tuesday. Inspectors should find general problems concerning corruption, malpractice, or official promotion by observing a specific problem so as to put a check on undesirable work styles, Wang said. The central authority has so far covered 47 state-owned groups in the previous four rounds of central inspections since the new CPC leadership was inaugurated in 2012 and has found evidence of corruption, leading to punishment of wrongdoers. As there are more than 280 state-owned groups covered by the central inspection team, targeted inspection enables the central authority to improve frequency and efficiency. More is needed to be done, however, to nail down and standardize targeted inspections through the legal form to ensure this "Sword of Damocles" a lasting and powerful deterrent. ^ top ^

China creates new megacity label for biggest urban centres (SCMP)
2014-11-21
A shake-up of urban planning could make it harder for residents to move to the mainland's biggest cities if it comes with tougher population controls, according to experts. The State Council announced yesterday that it would introduce a new "megacity" category to its urban planning system, saying the country's urbanisation push had entered a "critical moment" and more measures were needed to manage population flows. The megacity label would apply to centres with more than 10 million people, Xinhua reported. According to the 2010 national census, six cities would fall into this category - Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenzhen. The second-biggest category will be for "very large" cities with populations of between five million and 10 million people. In all, 16 centres fall into these two groups, both of which will have limits on population inflows. The State Council's guidelines would also raise the population limits for "small cities" from 200,000 to 500,000. And cities with a population of between 500,000 and 1 million will be reclassified as "mid-sized cities". "Large cities" will refer to those centres with a population of between 1 million and 5 million. The State Council did not say what population and urban management policies would be introduced, but urban planners said smaller cities might be given more opportunities to grow. Li Xun, deputy director of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, said population controls in the six megacities could become "even tighter", and it could remain very difficult to get an urban hukou, or household registration, in the 10 very large cities. The mainland's biggest cities, which are beset by various problems from traffic jams to air pollution and a lack of water, would instead focus on improving public services to their existing populations and preventing further urban sprawl. "[But] the mid-sized and large cities are expected to receive more favourable policies for growth in the coming years, as well as some townships which were previously not recognised as cities," Li said. Zhao Zhao, a researcher with the China City Development Academy, said the urbanisation drive needed to focus more on third and fourth-tier cities instead of megalopolises. As part of its urbanisation push, the authorities plan to raise the proportion of urban residents to about 60 per cent of the total population by 2020, up from 53.7 per cent now. But Beijing has repeatedly delayed the plan's rollout in the last two years. President Xi Jinping rejected one proposal last year because it focused more on investment than improving livelihoods. ^ top ^

China reveals size of strategic oil reserve for first time (SCMP)
2014-11-21
The National Bureau of Statistics revealed the official estimate of its strategic petroleum reserves for the first time yesterday, taking steps to improve transparency in its energy development after calls from the global community. The announcement - four days after President Xi Jinping promised to release figures on oil reserves in a more comprehensive and timely manner - said the reserves, held at four locations, totalled 12.43 million tonnes of crude oil, or about 91 million barrels. The four reserve bases are in Zhoushan (3.98 million tonnes), Zhenhai (3.78 million tonnes), Huangdao (2.5 million tonnes) and Dalian (2.17 million tonnes). The stockpile amounts to roughly nine days' consumption, far below the international standard of reserving enough to cover three months of imports. But the figure only accounts for the first phase of a plan to build petroleum reserves, and China is expected to build up more in the coming years. China has withheld its oil data in the past, reasoning it would suffer a price disadvantage were the figures released. But in recent months it has become more cooperative about its stockpile. "We've always had some kind of government customs data for crude oil, and China became the biggest oil importer last year, so the market wasn't operating in the dark," said Simon Powell, head of sustainable research at CLSA. "But this new development will enable markets to gain clarity on what China intends to do and how quickly it intends to do it." In July, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Wu Xinxiong of the National Energy Administration signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on strategic petroleum reserves. "China doesn't belong to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and it has no obligation to display this data," said Gordon Kwan, a researcher at Nomura Securities. "This takes the world a step closer to achieving energy security and shows an increasingly cooperative China. It also means lower investment risk for many oil and gas producers." The announcement yesterday did not include planned figures for second and third-phase strategic petroleum reserves, but state media released details in their reports. China intends to finish construction of the second phase of its oil-reserves infrastructure, holding nearly 200 million barrels, by 2020. "The speed at which China can complete phase two and phase three will depend on factors like oil prices," Powell said. "China has profited from the oversold crude price." China imports about 60 per cent of its oil. This year, it produced about 4.5 million barrels of liquified oil a day, 93 per cent of which was crude oil. ^ top ^

Rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang faces more charges as police hand case to prosecutors (SCMP)
2014-11-21
Beijing police had handed over the case of human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang to prosecutors after pressing a total of four charges against him, his lawyer said yesterday, confirming fears that he may face a lengthy jail sentence. Pu was placed in criminal detention in early May, three days after attending a private meeting commemorating the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement. He was one of five scholars and activists detained by police after the event, although the others were released on bail. In June, Pu was charged with "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" and "illegally obtaining personal information". But police recently pressed two more charges before sending Pu's case to prosecutors, his lawyer Mo Shaoping said. The new charges were likely to be "inciting to subvert state power" and "inciting racial hatred", although Mo could not give exact details as he had just taken over Pu's case and did not have access to case documents. The charge of illegal access to personal information related to Pu's commercial cases, while the other charges related to his online commentaries, Mo said. On his microblog, Pu has lambasted senior officials including Mao Xinyu, the grandson of Mao Zedong and a major-general in the People's Liberation Army, and a legislator who said she had never voted "no" in parliamentary sessions. The racial hatred charge was likely to be connected with Pu's criticism of former Xinjiang Communist Party chief Wang Lequan's hardline policies in the region following the deadly knife attack at a Kunming railway station in March that was blamed on Uygur separatists. But Mo was unsure whether the charges were also linked to Pu's criticism of disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang last year, which led to Pu's microblog accounts being closed. Pu has represented many high-profile dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and activist Tan Zuoren. He was also a vocal advocate for the abolition of forced labour camps, which were closed down last year. Mo said prosecutors would decide within six weeks whether to indict Pu and pass his case to the court for trial. Veteran lawyer Zhang Sizhi, who represented Pu until his recent illness, said earlier that Pu would be given a stiff jail term, adding "the heavy-handedness of the investigators... [was] beyond my expectations". Human rights advocates say Pu's arrest is aimed at silencing him and is part of the wider crackdown on rights lawyers, activists and civil society. ^ top ^

Ex-army leader Xu Caihou had 'a tonne of cash' in basement (SCMP)
2014-11-21
One of the country's most senior former military officers hoarded more than a tonne of cash and also precious jade in his basement, a magazine reported yesterday, the latest details to emerge from the high-profile case amid Beijing's war on graft. Military prosecutors have said that Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, had confessed to taking massive bribes in exchange for help in promotions. Officials say Xu, who retired as vice-chairman last year and from the ruling Communist Party's decision-making Politburo in 2012, will probably face a court martial now that an investigation has been finished. Prosecutors searched Xu's luxury home in Beijing in March and discovered stashed in the basement more than a tonne of US dollars, euros and yuan, reported Phoenix Weekly, a magazine run by broadcaster Phoenix Television. Xu also stored countless precious gems and hundreds of kilograms of expensive jade, as well as rare antiques, the magazine said, citing a person with knowledge of the matter who is close to high levels of the military. "Case handlers had no option but to call more than 10 military trucks before all the confiscated property piled up like mountains from this former Central Military Commission vice-chairman's house could be taken away," the magazine said. The report, which was carried by several mainland news outlets, added that Xu was forced to "bow his head and admit defeat" when confronted with a list of the items. President Xi Jinping heads the Central Military Commission, which controls the 2.3 million-strong armed forces, the world's largest, and has repeatedly reminded them to be loyal to the party. He has made weeding out corruption in the military a top goal as he steps up efforts to modernise forces that are increasingly projecting power. Xu, whose corruption probe was announced in June, has been stripped of his title and expelled from the military and the Communist Party. The government cracked down on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning it from engaging in business, but the military has been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances, analysts have said. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Former blogger sentenced for four years (China Daily)
2014-11-18
A Beijing court sentenced a former popular micro-blogger to four years in prison for illegal business operation on Tuesday. Yang Xiuyu, founder of Erma Co and with the online identity Lier Chaisi, was taken to Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court at 8:33 am with another suspect, Lu Mei, a woman employee of the company. Yang got the sentence after he received 531,200 yuan ($86,312) for helping people remove Internet posts and publish rumors, according to the court, adding the convict was also fined 150,000 yuan at the same time. Yang, 41, from Northeast China's Jilin province, was charged with running the illegal operation between May 2012 and September 2013, the court said. In one instance, Yang once asked a man to wear monk clothes to flirt with women in a boat in Beijing, and then Yang took video of the scene and posted it online. Yang later asked a painter surnamed An to comment, because An hoped to arouse attention and attract more followers to his blog this way. Yang admitted during the previous trial in August that he had received profits from An. Lu was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined 30,000 yuan, the court added. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Contagion caution in Canton (Global Times)
2014-11-19
Recently, travelers from Ebola-hit countries have had their temperature taken and have been given a few gifts by custom officers upon arriving in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. Their presents are a Coolpa cell phone, a prepaid SIM card, a med kit that includes a thermometer and a map of Guangzhou. A West African businessman soon discovered the purpose of these gifts. He was called occasionally and asked how he was doing; the local government offered him a free hotel room where medical workers wearing protective clothing took his temperature every day and his quarters were disinfected regularly, according to a report by qq.com. Those travelers that are given phones must activate them within 21 days of their arrival in China or face being blacklisted by the country's exit-entry security bureaus, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Guangzhou's authorities have been implementing a variety of measures to prevent the spread of the current Ebola outbreak which has killed more than 5,170 people across eight counties including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. After people from at-risk areas arrive in the city, a special team consisting of a policeman, a healthcare worker and a translator will visit them wherever they are staying to check for any suspicious symptoms, according to the Guangzhou Daily. But Congolese businessman Julio thinks these efforts are excessive. Two weeks ago, while helping a business partner from his hometown check into a hotel, he was told that his partner must go to a specific hotel chosen by the local police station. Despite these measures, many locals remain unworried. Several residents interviewed said they were not panicking at all. "This city has survived SARS, bird flu and Dengue. We're convinced that we're well prepared," said Li Jiarun, a local resident. Guangzhou, with an estimated African population of more than 200,000, has become the frontline of China's battle against the Ebola virus, as it accounts for 60 percent of arrivals in China from Ebola-hit regions every day. ^ top ^

Guangdong is the top target in China's nationwide drug crackdown (SCMP)
2014-11-20
Guangdong's booming illicit drug trade and addict population have made it a top target in a new nationwide police crackdown. Guangdong and Shandong provinces each have 10 cities among the 108 covered by the crackdown from the Ministry of Public Security, the People's Daily online news portal reported yesterday, citing assistant minister Liu Yuejing. The southern province is the mainland's biggest market for illicit drugs and has developed a clan-based industry for the manufacture of synthetic narcotics, especially Ice, or methamphetamine, some experts say. It also has the biggest population of addicts, with about 457,000 people on a register of suspected users, according to the provincial public security department. The total has been growing by about 40,000 people a year since 2009, the China News Service reported. Li Xiaodong, executive member of the board of the China Association of Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, said one of the big issues was migrants from other parts of the country. "Guangdong has the biggest migrant population in China. More than 60 per cent of drug users in Guangdong were from other provinces, according to our study in 2012," Li said. "There are many cases of Hong Kong people making the trip to Guangdong to use drugs." Peng Peng, a researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said that unlike traditional drugs such as heroin and opium, most of which were imported, production of Ice had developed into a local industry. Peng said several places in eastern Guangdong had become key manufacturing centres, churning out an estimated one-third of the country's local supplies in recent years. For example, three tonnes of Ice and 23 tonnes of raw materials were seized in a bust last year in Boshe, a village in Lufeng. He said the industry was protected by local officials and drugs made in Guangdong were sold across the province and country. "One or two campaigns will not be able to eliminate an industry in which so many local people make a living," Peng said. The ministry said its six-month campaign, which started in September, would target drug production, trafficking and selling. By Tuesday, officers had arrested 23,959 suspects, confiscated 12.1 tonnes of drugs and investigated more than 100,000 users. The crackdown would be widened to cover online drug dealing and drug driving. Inner Mongolia-based criminal lawyer Cao Chunfeng said that the national drug problem was serious. "Port cities in Shandong are not major markets [for drug consumption], but they serve more as transport hubs for drugs supplying Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, as well as other Chinese cities," Cao said. "There's more risks and costs with transporting drugs over a long distance, creating huge commercial interest in manufacturing drugs locally." ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong police set to clear Occupy protesters 'this week' (SCMP)
2014-11-17
Police will take action "this week" to clear protesters from some occupied sites just as a new poll showed that nearly 70 per cent of the public wants the movement to end. For the first time since it started the poll in September, Chinese University found more people opposed the Occupy movement than supported it. Of the 1,030 respondents, 43 per cent were against and 34 per cent for the movement - indicating a shift in public sentiment. Even those who supported the democracy protests believed it was time to bring it to an end. About 67 per cent of all respondents said protesters should go home. This came as a police source told the South China Morning Post that the force would take action "within this week" to help bailiffs implement court injunction orders against protesters occupying sites in Admiralty and Mong Kok. But he said police would not carry out the action at "odd hours". "The working hours of bailiffs are from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, so that's when it will happen," the source said. "Perhaps only an hour or two earlier [than 9am] at most, definitely not during the small hours. "Citic [Tower in Admiralty] will be first, then Mong Kok," the source said, adding that it would happen tomorrow at the earliest. The Mong Kok operation is considered "high risk". Each police officer could face up to three or four Occupy protesters there, the source said. He said all officers helping bailiffs in Mong Kok would be in full gear. [...] ^ top ^

HK at the centre of yuan reform (SCMP)
2014-11-17
The 550 billion yuan (HK$700 billion) stock connect scheme that links share trading between Hong Kong and Shanghai from today has already been hailed as just as important to our city as the H-shares listings of 20 years ago. But the scrapping, at the same time, of the 20,000 yuan daily currency conversion limit is even more significant to its future as an international finance centre. It may be true that a more liquid capital market and higher trading volumes will be good for the stock exchange and brokers. But with the decision to allow local residents to convert yuan freely, the real importance of the so-called through train is that it cements Hong Kong in the heart of China's currency reform process. The key lies in the change in the settlement location for currency conversion, amid soaring demand for the yuan in Hong Kong ahead of today's launch. Instead of settling every trade as an onshore conversion with a cap of 20,000 yuan, Hong Kong residents are to be allowed to tap into the offshore yuan deposit pool of 1.1 trillion yuan, effectively shutting Shanghai banks out of the process. Bypassing Shanghai may not have been a driving factor but the implications are far-reaching. Hong Kong is sending a message that in terms of connecting international markets and investors with the mainland this is the place to get it done. Lifting the conversion cap in China would amount to a dismantling of capital and currency controls, which remains a long way off. Our financial sector's flexibility and ability to think outside the box has come to the fore in reinforcing its edge when it comes to global connectivity. This has made it far easier for any investor anywhere to get hold of yuan-denominated securities. Beijing has already been very successful in driving the yuan as a settlement currency of choice, making it the world's seventh most used currency for trade in goods. But capital controls mean it is not the investment unit of choice. Free convertibility for the stock connect is not only a first step in making the yuan truly viable as an international investment currency, but reaffirms Hong Kong's relevance to reform of China's capital markets, which may be expected to happen here first in the foreseeable future. Capital market reform is the centrepiece of internationalisation of the country's economy. Today's innovation could become a kind of template for further liberalisation. ^ top ^

LIVE: Students pack up tents as bailiffs move to clear Occupy area outside Citic Tower (SCMP)
2014-11-18
Student protesters pre-empted an operation to clear a section of the Occupy Central camp in Admiralty this morning, removing tents before bailiffs moved to tear down barricades blocking access to Citic Tower. A court order authorising law enforcement officers to remove barriers near the tower on Monday paved the way for a clearance operation at one of the three democracy protest sites in Hong Kong. The High Court also authorised police to assist bailiffs in the clearance. Under the order by Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung, police officers can remove or arrest people who insist on breaching the court order. The injunction was requested by Golden Investment, the joint-venture controlled by the Chinese state-owned Citic Group which owns the 33-storey tower on Tim Mei Avenue. The court order comes as democracy protest sit-ins enter their eighth week in Hong Kong, and some roads in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay remain covered with tents and artwork in defiance of previous court injunctions. Justice Au reasoned that the protesters had blocked the car park entrance to Citic Tower and two fire exits. “This has exposed the occupants of Citic Tower to a serious risk of safety as important escape routes have been denied to the occupants,” the ruling read. The judge also said that the company had lost income from renting out parking space there. In a statement, police said they would render full assistance to bailiffs in executing the court order. Police warned officers would take “resolute action” against anyone who obstructs or “violently charges” the bailiffs. Some protesters have said they will not resist the clearance operation, but will move somewhere else. […] Meanwhile, Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said students would not allow the three protest sites in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay to be fully cleared. They would stay there even at risk of being arrested, he said. […] The injunction against democracy protesters in Kowloon had been requested by Chiu Luen Public Light Bus and two representatives of the Hong Kong Taxi Association and the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, Lau Hoi- ping and Tam Chun-hung. Justice Au also said he would hand down a decision as soon as possible on a third clearance application from two bus companies on Hong Kong Island. The injunction request was made by Kwoon Chung Motors and All China Express, which are subsidiaries of Kwoon Chung Bus. They seek the removal of blockades on Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Cotton Tree Drive. ^ top ^

Occupy condemns attack on Legco as pan-democrats claim protesters were 'misled' (SCMP)
2014-11-20
Occupy Central leaders and pan-democratic lawmakers were quick to condemn - or at least distance themselves from - the crowd that stormed the Legislative Council building during the early hours of yesterday. The government and 41 pro-establishment lawmakers also denounced the clashes, with the legislators signing a petition saying the Occupy movement had failed in its promise to keep the protests peaceful. The chaos in Admiralty came as public opposition to the civil disobedience movement reached nearly 55 per cent this week, compared with support of just 28 per cent, according to a University of Hong Kong poll. The survey of 513 people also found 82.9 per cent believed the occupation of sites in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay should end. A group of masked people smashed two glass doors of the Legco building with metal railings and bricks at about 1am yesterday, the 53rd day of the pro-democracy protests. A few hundred Occupy protesters flocked to the scene in support, prompting police to use pepper spray and charge at them with batons. By the time police arrived, however, the masked people who initiated the storming of the premises had left, according to witnesses - but not before urging protesters to enter Legco through one of the broken doors. Later yesterday, student leaders of Occupy expressed reservations about the action, though they refrained from using the word "condemn". The Federation of Students' deputy secretary general, Lester Shum, said his group was not involved and that some protesters had been "misled". The three Occupy Central co-founders and 23 pan-democratic lawmakers said they "strongly condemn" the action. They also said the masked group had misled the protesters. [...] Occupy added that its legal support team would not provide help to those who instigate violence. Three radical pan-democratic lawmakers, including "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, also criticised the clash and said its organisers should come forward to explain their motive. Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing postponed the chamber's weekly meeting from yesterday to this morning. Tsang said he understood the initiators of the clash "were a different group from Occupy protesters" and urged police to track them down. Meanwhile, the Mong Kok occupied zone was not expected to be cleared until next Tuesday at the earliest, a police source said. The High Court had granted injunctions to clear the site, but bailiffs and plaintiffs granted the orders needed time to hire hands to help remove the obstacles, he said. "Those with triad backgrounds and mental illnesses [among Occupy protesters in Mong Kok] are likely to clash with police," the source said. All sides involved in executing the injunctions must also wait until the court clarifies tomorrow the role police can play. ^ top ^

Half of Occupy Central protesters ready to pack it in if asked by organisers (SCMP)
2014-11-20
Half of Occupy protesters said they would retreat if asked to do so by campaign leaders, according to a poll of more than 2,100 people taking part in the sit-ins. The findings, compiled by students and analysed by the Post, came as tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying urged protesters to consider retreating. Out of 2,183 protesters polled, 958 said they would retreat if the three groups leading the movement asked them to do so. The results also showed that 963 said they would ignore such a request and continue their protest, while 262 did not give a clear answer or were undecided. The study was conducted by 20 student protesters and volunteers. Close to 2,000 protesters in Admiralty and about 200 in Mong Kok replied to questionnaires between Friday and Sunday. Supporters of a retreat said now was the time to change their strategy to reach out to the wider public. Some said public support for the street protests, now in their eighth week, had been dwindling and staying would not give them a better chance of achieving their goals. Those who vowed to stay said retreating would amount to an admission of failure, as the Hong Kong and central governments had not made any concessions on electoral reform proposals. […] Occupy co-founder Dr Chan Kin-man said yesterday: "If half of the protesters would leave [if asked by organisers], the other half might actually rethink whether they should stay." Chan, who has hinted several times that the sit-in should end, said organisers should now consider other strategies. "Many people in the crowd are waiting for the student leaders to make the next move, and also for a way out," he said. He said what the students had achieved was already beyond imagination, and that they should not have any "sense of failure" in calling for a retreat. Media mogul Jimmy Lai, who has been camping in Admiralty, agreed that it was time for protesters to consider leaving to save energy for the long-term fight for greater democracy. "Scholarism, HKFS [Federation of Students] or the Occupy leaders should give the government a deadline on when to respond. If the government doesn't act, then we'll come back." Lai said some protesters wanted to get something from the government before they left, but this was not likely to happen. "If you wait for that, or wait for action from Legco, are you really going to wait for a year?" Another Occupy co-organiser, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, said he and the two other founders had postponed their plan to turn themselves in to police today, as they wanted to observe the clearance of protest areas in Mong Kok, expected next week. Student leader Lester Shum said they were planning to stay at the occupied area in Mong Kok next week in order to get arrested as the operation took place. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwanese manufacturers head home as problems in mainland China mount (SCMP)
2014-11-16
[...] Taiwanese entrepreneurs with operations in mainland China, a multibillion-dollar force, are investing in their home market again. They want to escape mounting business risks. Some investors hope to reap advantages, including government incentives, that are harder to find in the People's Republic. Since 2006, Taiwanese companies have launched projects either by leaving the mainland or using capital once intended for mainland expansion, the island's government says. That transfer has brought NT$53.5 billion (HK$13.5 billion), back to Taiwan, including NT$52 billion last year. The government forecasts another NT$53.5 billion this year. Taiwan officials have been trying to woo capital from the mainland since 2006, with a bigger push since November 2012, to shore up the macro economy through more investment, productivity and tax revenues. Taiwan's economic growth slowed to 2.09 per cent last year from a 52-year average of 7.15 per cent, a development blamed on slack export demand in major markets such as Europe and the United States. One result? Taiwan has added more than 89,000 jobs since 2006. "Taiwanese investors want to come back and they will continue to come back," Heinz Chien, senior executive officer with the Economic Affairs Ministry's department of investor services, said. "The question is whether the flow will be big or small." The transfer of capital from mainland China is one of several government tactics to stoke Taiwan's slow-growing, half-trillion US dollar economy. Many Taiwanese businesspeople moved factories or direct investment capital to mainland China in the 1980s, when Taiwan's labour and land prices shot up. About 101,000 Taiwanese entrepreneurs with US$140 billion in projects remain there, the Investor Services Department estimates. "Taiwan is better for maintaining a set level of technical quality," said Chung Chin-chin, chairwoman of Kao Fong Machinery […] Mainland China remains a cheaper place to operate than Taiwan, despite rising wages and certain provincial rules that can add to costs. (Guangdong province, for instance, requires employers to pay retroactive insurance for employees stretching back a decade, Chien said.) Mainland workers earn a minimum US$2,472 per year compared to US$8,481 for workers in Taiwan. Taiwan officials said they helped investors by steering them to property that was fairly priced for industrial development. Two government-funded hi-tech incubators and several more that develop traditional industries such as shoe manufacturing have helped companies use their repatriated capital to upgrade or add product lines. One of the more popular incentives began in 2012 when the government allowed returning investors to hire low-paid Southeast Asian migrant workers for up to 40 per cent of their staff. Taiwan lowered the corporate tax rate from 20 to 17 per cent in 2010, and Chien says that that drop still lures investment back from mainland China. To lure more capital back, Taiwan's parliament is considering a bill to create special zones that would cut taxes for companies based around six ports and the main international airport. [...] ^ top ^

KMT losing ground in Taipei mayoral battle (SCMP)
2014-11-19
A series of opinion polls have put an independent candidate well head of the governing Kuomintang in the mayoral election in Taipei later this month. The latest polls by Taiwanese media, [...], suggest that independent Ko Wen-che is leading the KMT's candidate for the post by as much as 18 percentage points. Taipei is considered a KMT stronghold and analysts said a defeat in the mayoral election would be a major blow ahead of presidential polls on the island in 2016. Ko, 55, is a surgeon and political novice who has won strong support because of his outspoken and unorthodox approach, refusing to produce campaign literature or to accept large donations to his cause. Analysts said he was also benefiting from public dissatisfaction over the performance of President Ma Ying-jeou's KMT government. [...] The KMT candidate in the mayoral election in Taipei on November 29 is Sean Lien Sheng-wen, the son of its honorary chairman, Lien Chan. He was considered to be favourite early in the campaign, despite his lack of experience in politics. The slump in the polls has prompted the Kuomintang to try to lift Lien's ratings, with Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, pledging to help him on the campaign trail. A successful election campaign by an independent candidate could have far-reaching consequences for politics in Taiwan, which has previously been dominated by two parties, according to Lu. "This means the bipartisan control of politics in Taiwan might change if the influence of the civic group movement grows stronger in the future," Lu said. Ko might even run for president in 2016 if he became mayor and did well in the post, Lu suggested. Serving as mayor of Taipei has been a stepping stone to higher office, with former mayors Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian and Ma all becoming president. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un to send a special envoy to Russia (SCMP)
2014-11-15
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will soon send a special envoy to Russia, state media reported yesterday, in a trip expected to focus on how to boost ties at a time when Pyongyang faces deepening diplomat isolation. The official Korean Central News Agency made the announcement about Choe Ryong-hae's planned trip but it did not give the trip's timing or exact purpose. Russia and North Korea maintain cordial ties, though they are not as close as they were in Soviet times, when Moscow provided significant aid and support to Pyongyang. For North Korea, better ties with Russia could provide a much-needed boost to revive its economy as its ties with China - the country's longtime ally and main aid provider - are not as strong as they used to be. Beijing was angered when Pyongyang ramped up tensions last year with its third nuclear test and threats of nuclear strikes against Seoul and Washington. China has supported tightening of UN sanctions and cracked down on North Korean banking activity. Russia, for its part, has been seeking to bolster ties with North Korea amid a lengthy effort to strengthen its role in Asia. "Russia could be looking to increase its influence in the Far East as its relations with Western nations have taken a turn for the worse due to the situation in Ukraine," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University. Choe's trip also appeared aimed at easing the country's diplomatic isolation, said analyst Cheong Seong-chang at the private Sejong Institute. He noted this week's announcement of a free-trade agreement between rival South Korea and China. The North has pursued improved ties with South Korea and the US in what analysts say is an attempt to lure outside aid, but Seoul and Washington have said it must first take steps towards nuclear disarmament. North Korea released two American detainees last weekend, but US President Barack Obama squelched speculation that might pave the way for a new round of nuclear talks, saying the US needed more than "small gestures" before reopening any high-level dialogue. Choe, a senior Workers' Party official, is seen as one of Kim's close associates. He visited Beijing last year as Kim's special envoy and met President Xi Jinping, telling him that Pyongyang would take steps to rejoin stalled nuclear disarmament talks. He was also a member of a delegation which visited South Korea last month. ^ top ^

UN condemns N.Korea ‘rights abuses' (Global Times)
2014-11-20
The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses and called for the Security Council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity. The resolution was passed by a resounding vote of 111 to 19 with 55 abstentions in a General Assembly human rights committee. Both China and Russia voted against the resolution on Tuesday along with countries like Cuba, Iran and Syria, who complained that the measure unfairly targeted North Korea. North Korea reacted angrily to the vote and announced that it was breaking off talks on improving human rights with the European Union, which drafted the resolution with Japan. Since the UN Security Council is not a proper platform to discuss the human rights issue and the referral to ICC will not help solve problems, China voted against the resolution, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, said on Wednesday. Hong said that China consistently advocates for "constructive" dialogues and cooperation to settle disputes on the human rights issue, and opposes politicizing it and pressuring other countries with the issue. Raising the human rights issue against North Korea to defame it is a method of the Western countries, especially the US, to make an excuse for not improving the bilateral relationship with Pyongyang, Li Dunqiu, a Korean studies scholar with Zhejiang University, told the Global Times. North Korea resorted to various channels to improve ties with the US, including releasing American citizens Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller on November 8, but the US does not wish to reciprocate as friendlier relations that contradict its strategies in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, said Li. The non-binding measure will go to the full General Assembly for a vote next month. Li said the resolution is symbolic as China and Russia are likely to veto the measure at the Security Council. This developed, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a special North Korean envoy on Tuesday, Putin's office said. Choe Ryong-hae, a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers' Party, delivered a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but no further details were provided. In response to the frequent visits between Moscow and Pyongyang, Hong said on November 14 that China has always encouraged North Korea to cooperate with other countries. However, Jin Qiangyi, the director of the Asia Studies Center at Yanbian University, said this exchange will not generate significant results as Russia has always been prudent about its ties with North Korea. "Even if Kim visits Russia, their ties will not be further improved. The nuclear issue cannot be bypassed," Jin told the Global Times. ^ top ^

UN committee votes to hold North Korea accountable for human rights abuses (SCMP)
2014-11-20
The world's boldest effort yet to hold North Korea and leader Kim Jong-un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity has moved forward at the United Nations, where a Pyongyang envoy threatened further nuclear tests. The UN General Assembly's human rights committee has approved a resolution that urges the Security Council to refer the country's harsh human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. […] The resolution was inspired by a UN commission of inquiry report early this year that declared North Korea's human rights situation "exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror". The UN committee has adopted similar resolutions on the North's human rights conditions in the past. But the fact that this year's resolution includes the new idea that Kim could be targeted by prosecutors has pushed the communist country to make a more furious response, as that would pose a setback to its recent efforts to improve ties with the outside world. North Korean officials would also view the resolution as a potential embarrassment to their young leader, who took power after the death of his dictator father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011. North Korea sent a sharp warning in comments before the vote. Trying to punish it over human rights "is compelling us not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests", said Choe Myong-nam, a foreign ministry adviser for UN and human rights issues. His colleagues gave no details on that threat. Choe also accused the European Union and Japan, the resolution's co-sponsors, of "subservience and sycophancy" to the United States, and he promised "unpredictable and serious consequences" if the resolution went forward. The EU quickly issued a statement welcoming the support of 111 countries in the vote. Nineteen countries voted against, and 55 abstained. "It is admirable that the member states of the United Nations are acting to protect the people of North Korea when their own government fails to do so," the head of the commission of inquiry, retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, said. Human rights groups turned their attention to China and Russia, which could block any Security Council move. "No Security Council country, including China, can deny the horror endured by so many North Koreans," Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, said. "The time has come for justice." North Korea and its allies have argued that a resolution that targets a single country would set a dangerous precedent. The commission of inquiry report was based on interviews with dozens of people like Shin Dong-hyuk, who had fled the North and detailed abuses including starvation and a system of harsh prison camps containing up to 120,000 people. North Korea has accused people who cooperated with the commission of lying, and it produced a video showing Shin's father in North Korea condemning him. But Shin said North Korea's attempt to intimidate him and others backfired. "This was an overwhelming defeat," he said. [...] ^ top ^

DPRK rejects UN human rights resolution, indicating new nuclear test (Xinhua)
2014-11-20
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday strongly denounced the UN resolution on human rights in the country and indicated it might conduct a new nuclear test to counter "U.S. hostile policy" toward Pyongyang. The Third Committee of the 69th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution, drafted by the European Union and Japan, that recommends the Security Council refer the DPRK to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. China was among the countries which voted against the resolution. "We are of the view that the UN Security Council is not the right place to discuss human rights issues, and the referral of human rights issues to the International Criminal Court is not conducive to their resolution," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press conference on Wednesday. The resolution followed a detailed report released in February by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK. The report raised widespread concerns over abuses of human rights in the country. The resolution is peppered with malignant accusations based on the report, which is a collection of fabrications made by "defectors" from the north, a DPRK foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the country's official news agency KCNA. The DPRK has clarified its willingness to conduct wide-ranging cooperation in the field of human rights and is ready to actively promote dialogue and exchange on the issue, but the "hostile forces" finally chose confrontation rather than cooperation, the statement said. Pyongyang also warned in the statement that it is compelled by U.S. hostility "not to exercise restraint any longer in conducting a new nuclear test" and that its "war deterrence will grow stronger" to cope with U.S. interventions. ^ top ^

DPRK ready to resume six-party talks without preconditions: Russian FM (Xinhua)
2014-11-20
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is ready to resume six-party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula without preconditions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.
"We have received assurances... that Pyongyang is ready to resume six-party talks without preconditions, based on the joint statement that the participants in the six-party format of the negotiations adopted in September 2005," Lavrov told reporters after talks with Choe Ryong Hae, special envoy of the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un. He said Choe, who arrived in Moscow on Monday for an eight-day visit, had handed Russian President Vladimir Putin a message from Kim that "confirmed the readiness to develop our bilateral ties and cooperate in resolving the problems which persist on the Korean Peninsula." Noting that Russia-DPRK trade and economic relations "are reaching a whole new level," Lavrov said the two countries will further interact in the future. "As for the schedule of contacts, we have confirmed our readiness to carry out contacts at all levels, including the summit level, within the timeframe agreed for both sides," he said. Lavrov also stressed that recent media reports over the DPRK's nuclear reactor activity in the Yongbyon nuclear complex should be verified. "Such claims should be backed by facts, not by media allegations," he said, adding that the working group on the peninsula's security issues should resume its activity so that all concerns could be professionally discussed. Choe's visit followed a series of high-ranking visits by DPRK officials this year. Vice Marshal Hyon Yong Chol, minister of the People's Armed Forces, met Putin in Moscow on Nov. 8 and conveyed Kim's greetings. DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong visited Russia on Sept. 30. Choe will also visit Russia's Far East cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok on his way back home. ^ top ^

China urges for dialogue, cooperation on DPRK human rights dispute (Xinhua)
2014-11-20
China on Thursday called for constructive dialogue and cooperation to solve dispute over human right issue in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and reaffirmed its adherence to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. "China has always stood for dialogue and cooperation as a way to solve disputes on human rights," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a press briefing. Hong's remarks came while commenting on a statement by the DPRK Foreign Ministry on Thursday that U.S. hostility over the DPRK's nuclear tests had the opposite effect. The statement follows a UN resolution on the DPRK's human rights record passed on Tuesday. Hong reaffirmed China's "clear stance on the [DPRK] nuclear issue", encompassing denuclearization, as well as peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. He said all relevant parties should endeavor to ease the situation and create a conducive environment to restart the six-party talks. The six-party talks, a mechanism aiming to solve the Korean nuclear issue, involved China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan. The talks were initiated in Beijing in August 2003 but have stalled since December 2008. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia, Z.Enkhbold is elected as the Head of Democratic Party succeeding N.Altankhuyag (infomongolia)
2014-11-17
On November 14, 2014, the Democratic Party National Consultative Committee, the highest decision-making organ of the Party held its irregular 44th meeting until late night resolving urgent issues regarding the Party affairs as well as chairmanships of current resigned Cabinet. At the beginning of meeting the Head of DP N.Altankhuyag announced to abdicate, accordingly, the Committee members had to elect its new Head of the Party, where the only one candidate - incumbent Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold - was elected with unanimous votes, after which, MP N.Altankhuyag handed over the DP stamp accrediting newly elected Head of the Democratic Party Z.Enkhbold. Afterwards, the DP Committee members revised the issue of promoting new Prime Minister of Mongolia with two candidacies as the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat Ch.Saikhanbileg and MP R.Amarjargal, where the latter candidature was proposed by the DP Group at the Parliament and Ch.Saikhanbileg by “Altan Gadas” fraction chaired by former Premier N.Altankhuyag. Due to regulations, the two candidates introduced their Action Plans to implement until 2016 and following the question-answer procedure, the Committee members voted under secret ballot, where Ch.Saikhanbileg won over R.Amarjargal by 53.6% of votes to become the next 28th Premier of Mongolia. This is a promotion-level decision, because winning-candidature Ch.Saikhanbileg's issue will be consulted with other Parties having seats in the Parliament as well as submitted for an approval to the President of Mongolia and finally to be ratified by the Parliament. If the second majority Party (MPP) in the Parliament or President Ts.Elbegdorj rejects Ch.Saikhanbileg's candidacy or disagreed at the final-level of Parliament plenary session, so the second candidature R.Amarjargal will be forwarded for the Premier's post. Moreover, newly elected Head of DP Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD will be approved at the Party Assembly Meeting scheduled on December 08, 2014. Top of the Document
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The 2015 State Budget of Mongolia is approved (infomongolia)
2014-11-17
At the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) held on November 14, 2014, the 91.2% of attendees (52 out of participated 57 Parliamentarians) ratified the 2015 State Budget of Mongolia. According to outlook for 2015 State Budget, the Parliament approved the total balanced budget revenue of 4 trillion, 708 billion and 510.1 million MNT (Tugrug), where the total balanced budget expenditure is set at 5 trillion, 603 billion and 277.4 million MNT. Also, the budget expenditure in 2015 as capital investments in projects, measures and construction works is set at 655 billion and 417.5 million MNT, and additional 195 billion and 556.8 MNT is also approved as capital investment on terms of repayment financed by Development Bank and the Budget Stability Fund collection is set at 34 billion and 385.8 million MNT. In order to finance the budget deficit through year-to-year, the Government will issue securities equivalent of 1 trillion, 815 billion MNT and 740.1 million MNT, and the Government's new foreign project loans of 277 billion and 460.6 million MNT. Moreover, the Parliament has reflected in the 2015 State Budget the income as estimated but reduced the expenditure by 118.8 billion MNT, thus subscribing the budget deficit as 439.2 billion or 1.8 percent of the country's GDP as was reduced from 489.9 billion MNT. ^ top ^

Independent MPs threaten opposition if MANAN is created (UB Post)
2014-11-18
Even though it's not been officially announced, there are rumors spreading that a “government of national unity” will be established and all parties will unite to form it. Independent MPs expressed their opposition to this proposal and other issues to be discussed this week during Parliament's meetings of the standing committees and plenary session. MP Kh.Bolorchulun said, “We heard that the Democratic Party (DP) discussed uniting all parties during its National Consultative Committee's meeting. If MANAN (a coalition of the MPP and DP) is created, the independent members will be in opposition. We will control them. There is no parliament without opposition.” MP Ts.Davaasuren added that the independent members will refuse to accept any promises from MANAN. They said that approving the state budget on time has shown the Parliament's “responsibility” regarding state work. MP and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Budget Ts.Davaasuren emphasized that this was first time that the Parliament has approved the state budget without the Minister of Finance and during a government collapse. MP Ts.Davaasuren said that the independent MPs will support restructuring the government, but underlined that it's wrong to solve problems “mechanically”. He noted that during discussions of the state budget, there was a suggestion to reduce the number of state employees by ten percent. “We shouldn't increase the number of unemployed automatically. Today, private companies can't hire new employees and it's wrong to believe that the ministries have extra officials. It's important to define unnecessary agencies and positions and take measures,” said Ts.Davaasuren. Top of the Document
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The ruling DP could not reach consensus with opposition MPP on new candidacy for the Prime Minister of Mongolia (infomongolia)
2014-11-19
At the National Consultative Committee Meeting of Democratic Party held on November 14, 2014, it was agreed to replace the Party leadership following the collapse of current Cabinet by nominating incumbent Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold as the Head of DP. Moreover, the DP Committee members have promoted the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat Ch.Saikhanbileg for the Prime Minister of Mongolia, who won over the second candidacy, MP R.Amarjargal. Due to regulations, the candidate for Premier's post promoted by ruling party should be negotiated with other political forces having seats in the Parliament before ratifying at the Parliamentary plenary session. Accordingly, the DP leadership sent its proposals of negotiation seeking support from other Parties to promote Ch.Saikhanbileg for the next Prime Minister of Mongolia. However, as considered as “small” political forces in the Parliament, the CWGP and “Justice” Coalition had agreed to support Ch.Saikhanbileg's candidacy, but the main opposition Party (Mongolian People's Party) revised the issue at its two-day meeting, where at the latter meeting held at MPP Board of Members-level with participation of DP Head Z.Enkhbold and nominee Ch.Saikhanbileg, was concluded yesterday on November 18, 2014. Although the meeting decision was not revealed yesterday, but today on November 19, 2014, the MPP Board of Members represented by Head of MPP, concurrent Deputy Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold, Chairman of MPP Group at the Parliament S.Byambatsogt and MPP Secretary General J.Munkhbat have called a press conference regarding the Party decision. At the press conference, MPP Board Members stated, “The Democratic Party sent its proposal to nominate the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat Ch.Saikhanbileg for the Prime Minister of Mongolia on November 17, 2014. Accordingly, the MPP Board of Members and MPP Group discussed the issue at its two-day meeting and issued its decision yesterday. The MPP Board has 21 members and following the revision, 63% of attendees resolved not to support the promoted candidate Ch.Saikhanbileg for the Premier's post. Today morning we officially sent the letter to the Head of DP Z.Enkhbold. The reason is not applicable to support the candidature used to work as main figure in the ‘Government for Changes' with ousted Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, who chaired the Cabinet that caused a worsening economy and raising debt nationwide. If the DP Consultative Committee suggests a person, who can resolve the current situation, the MPP will accept the next candidacy. Therefore, the 26 MPP Group members at the Parliament will follow the Board decision”. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Petra Salome Merki
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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