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
  30.8-5.9.14, No. 540  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

China calls for continued efforts to settle Kosovo issue through dialogue (Global Times)
2014-8-30
China on Friday called on all parties concerned to continue to resolve differences through dialogue, so as to find a lasting solution to the issue of Kosovo. Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, made the appeal at a meeting of the Security Council on Kosovo. "China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and understands the legitimate concerns of that country on the question of Kosovo," Liu told the meeting, noting that the Security Council Resolution 1244 provides the essential legal basis for finding a solution to the issue. "China believes that the best approach in that connection is to find a mutually acceptable settlement through dialogue and negotiations on the basis of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and within the framework of the relevant Council resolutions," he said. Liu noted that the recent security situation in Kosovo has remained largely peaceful, although violent incidents continue to take place in the north. He said China believed that all relevant parties should take concrete measures to protect the legitimate rights of all communities in Kosovo and promote inter-communal reconciliation. "At the same time, all parties should adopt a prudent attitude, stay the course of resolving disputes and differences through dialogue, and avoid resorting to any action that may lead to the complication and escalation of the situation," he said. The Chinese envoy said his country appreciates the efforts of Serbia in seeking a political solution to the issue of Kosovo, and supports the continued efforts of Belgrade and Pristina to maintain and push forward the high level political dialogue and to implement the bilateral agreements that have already been reached. "China believes that the continued efforts of both sides to promote a pragmatic, positive and constructive dialogue process and to seek a lasting solution to the issue of Kosovo will contribute to peace and stability in the Balkans and Europe at large," Liu said. "Resolving the Kosovo issue in a proper way and building a Kosovo where all ethnic communities live harmoniously plays a part in the peace and stability of the Balkans and the rest of Europe," he added. "That is also a common goal of the international community." ^ top ^

China, Russia to start construction of joint gas pipeline (Xinhua)
2014-08-31
China and Russia are to start construction of a joint natural gas pipeline in Russia's eastern Siberia this weekend, in implementation of a natural gas supply contract signed between the two countries. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli flew in from Moscow to Yakutsk, the capital city of Russia's Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, Sunday evening to attend a start-of-construction ceremony for the Russian part of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline.Zhang's attendance at the start-of-construction ceremony reflects the importance that the Chinese government attaches to the comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia and its will to expand bilateral cooperation to wider fields and higher levels. Pipe-welding will begin on Monday in the Russian part of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline, which the Russian side named "Siberia Power" pipeline. According to a contract signed under the witness of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Shanghai meeting in May, the pipeline will transmit 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year to China over a period of 30 years starting from 2018. The Russian stakeholder of the pipeline Gazprom estimates that total investment in the project could exceed 5 billion U.S. dollars. Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller said Saturday that the gas supply contract was just a good beginning of bilateral cooperation in the field of natural gas. He said the Russian side is working on implementing the consensus reached by President Putin and President Xi and will undoubtedly build the planned West Route of the natural gas pipeline and export gas to China through it. The start of construction of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline signifies a major step forward in implementing the consensus reached by Xi and Putin. The Russian part of the pipeline will link the Kovyktin and Chayandin gas fields in Siberia with the eastern port city of Vladivostok, covering a total distance of nearly 4,000 km. Vice Premier Zhang said the breakthrough on the natural gas project and other large-scale projects helped drive the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership into a new era of development. Zhang visited Moscow to co-chair the 11th meeting of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Saturday. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets foreign guests (Global Times)
2014-09-01
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met with foreign visitors on the sidelines of the fourth China-Eurasia Expo in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday. Hailing the "unprecedented" political trust and comprehensive cooperation between China and Kazakhstan, Wang told Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov that China stands ready to further boost cooperation with Kazakhstan on trade, energy and resources, interconnectivity, law enforcement and security to advance the bilateral ties in a sustained way. Masimov said that Kazakhstan will work together with China to build the Silk Road economic belt proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and make Kazakhstan an important link of the economic belt. During the meeting with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhoomart Otorbayev, Wang said China and Kyrgyzstan should deepen their practical cooperation, especially on natural resources, transportation and agriculture as well as sub-national cooperation in pursuit of common development. Otorbayev said Kyrgyzstan will firmly support China's efforts to safeguard national security and stability and is willing to cooperate with China more closely. When meeting with Georgian Deputy Chairman of the Parliament Zviad Dzidziguri, Wang said the Chinese government will encourage capable Chinese companies to invest in Georgia and expand areas of reciprocal cooperation, such as agriculture, tea planting and production, wine trade, infrastructure construction and telecommunications. Dzidziguri said Georgia looks forward to more investment from and closer cooperation with China. Masimov, Otorbayev and Dzidziguri were in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, to attend the opening ceremony of the fourth China-Eurasia Expo. The expo is scheduled for Sept. 1 to 6. ^ top ^

Next-generation Rainbow drone ready for PLA delivery (SCMP)
2014-09-01
Rainbow 4 unmanned aerial vehicle ready for use by military after successful missile test.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) would soon take delivery of a new generation of the country's aerial drone, state media reported yesterday. State television showed a test of the Rainbow 4 (CH-4) hunter-killer drone successfully hitting a target with a missile. The technology was developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology for reconnaissance and military strikes. The latest move comes as the PLA is actively and publicly promoting the use of drones by its military personnel. State media reported last week on the use of a drone to knock out a simulated enemy command vehicle during counter-terrorism exercises in Inner Mongolia. State media have also reported that drones have been deployed in Xinjiang in recent weeks to help in the search for terror suspects. A Pentagon report in June said the resources and technological awareness deployed in China's drone programme meant it could rival the United States' systems in the future. Li Pingkun, the head of the Rainbow 4 project at the aerospace corporation, told state television the drone could make a long-distance hit on a target with a margin of error of less than 1.5 metres. He said the system was very precise because it used several methods to guide missiles or smart bombs to their target. The Rainbow 4 was developed as the PLA's answer to the MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer drone mainly used by the US military for reconnaissance and high-precision air strikes, according to mainland media reports. The Rainbow had gradually caught up with the Reaper in terms of targeting precision, flight length and payloads, but still fell short in some areas, including its top speed, the reports said.The Reaper can fly at up to 740km/h for a surprise attack, much faster than the Rainbow's top speed of 235km/h. The PLA also has limited experience in using drones in combat zones. The Rainbow drone is about nine metres long and has an 18-metre wingspan. It can fly for about 40 hours.The drone can carry up to four missiles and its ground control and support centre can be packed into and moved around in two trucks. ^ top ^

Month of commemorations of China's 1945 victory over Japan begins (SCMP)
2014-09-03
Top leaders will attend a ceremony in Beijing today to commemorate the 69th anniversary of China's victory in the anti-Japanese war, also called the second Sino-Japanese war, which ended in 1945. It is the country's first commemoration since September 3 was designated Victory Day earlier this year. It also marks the start of a busy month, with another two high-profile remembrances - the 83rd anniversary of the Mukden incident that was the pretext for Japan's 1931 invasion of China on September 18 and the newly established Martyrs' Day on September 30. The Ministry of Civil Affairs on Monday unveiled the names of the first 300 martyrs - defined as people who gave their lives for national independence and prosperity since the first opium war with the British in 1840. Of that batch, 152 died during the second Sino-Japanese war from 1937 to 1945, 94 were from the Kuomintang-run army and 10 were foreign nationals, including Japanese pacifist Hideo Miyagawa. Jiang Shangqing, the adopted father of former president Jiang Zemin, was also given the honour. In February, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the national legislature, designated September 3 to mark victory over Japan and December 13 as a memorial day for Nanking massacre victims. In August it also approved the establishment of Martyrs' Day on September 30. Lin Xiaoguang, an international relations expert at the Central Party School, said the series of commemorations was "long overdue" because the Chinese public needed to remember their wartime history. "Chinese leaders are not trying to put more pressure on already tense Sino-Japanese relations … and such commemorations of history should not fan hatred," he said. He cautioned that rising nationalism could again prompt violent marches if no precautions were taken. Beijing and Tokyo are locked in an acrimonious dispute over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea known as the Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan, which controls the islands. There are fears the commemorations could fuel nationalist sentiment. The commemorations began quietly, with media regulators ordering major broadcasters to show patriotic anti-Japanese dramas until the end of October. Meanwhile, fifth-grade students in Jiangsu province became the first on the mainland to receive official textbooks detailing the Nanking massacre. The 55-page textbook comprises 10 stories about the Japanese military invasion on December 13, 1937 of the former Chinese capital, which today uses the post-war pinyin spelling Nanjing. China estimates some 300,000 civilians and soldiers were raped or murdered during the following six weeks. ^ top ^

Abe's picks for party posts point to possible thaw in ties with China (SCMP)
2014-09-03
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked two veteran lawmakers with friendly ties to China for top party posts yesterday in an apparent signal of hope for a thaw in chilly ties with Beijing and a summit with President Xi Jinping. The change in executives in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was twinned with a cabinet reshuffle in which Abe gave the health and welfare portfolio to a reform-minded lawmaker, kept core ministers and boosted the number of women in an effort to polish his image. Abe's line-up faces a number of challenges, including how to repair ties with China that have been frayed by rows over territory and Japan's wartime past, and whether to go ahead with a sales tax rise next year despite signs the economy is faltering. "A positive economic cycle is kicking off," Abe said. "We're only halfway through in reforms and we need to deal with new challenges. I reshuffled my cabinet so that we can tackle these challenges boldly and vigorously. The biggest challenge now is... to revive the regions of Japan." In a bid for party unity, the hawkish Abe tapped outgoing Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, his predecessor as LDP leader, for the key party post of secretary-general, the LDP's de facto election campaign chief. Tanigaki, 69, is from a moderate wing of the LDP that favours better ties with China. He was also an architect of a plan to raise the sales tax in two stages to curb Japan's huge public debt. The second stage is now in doubt due to a string of gloomy economic data. Veteran lawmaker Toshihiro Nikai, 75, who also has close ties with China, was appointed to a second top party post. Outgoing administrative reform minister Tomomi Inada, 55, a close ally of Abe, became LDP policy chief. "He is sending a strong message to China that he wants to improve ties. Not only Tanigaki but Nikai have good ties with China," said political analyst Atsuo Ito. Abe has signalled that he hopes to meet Xi at an Asia-Pacific leaders gathering in Beijing in November. "Japan and China both have responsibility for international peace and prosperity. It is vital to develop a forward-looking, cooperative relationship on common issues confronting international society," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. Former deputy defence minister Akinori Eto, part of a group of lawmakers advocating visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, takes over from moderate conservative Itsunori Onodera as defence minister. He also assumes a new post responsible for national security reform as Abe pushes ahead with efforts to ease the limits of Japan's pacifist constitution on its military. ^ top ^

US aide Susan Rice heads to China to smooth way for Xi-Obama summit (SCMP)
2014-09-04
A top foreign policy adviser of US President Barack Obama will visit China on Sunday to try to contain tensions between the two nations ahead of a summit between Obama and President Xi Jinping. United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice would hold talks with Chinese officials including State Councillor Yang Jiechi during her three-day trip to Beijing, US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said yesterday. Rice "will underscore the US commitment to building a productive relationship" with China ahead of Obama's visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November, Hayden said. State Department officials said earlier that Obama would attend the summit on November 10 and 11, and meet Xi the following day. The bilateral meeting may be held in an informal setting similar to the talks between the two leaders at the Sunnylands estate in California last year. Rice's visit comes as tensions between the two nations continue to simmer, with the US critical of China's assertiveness over territorial disputes in the East and South China seas. In May, Rice described China's move to deploy an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea as "provocative and unhelpful". China is also increasingly suspicious of the growing US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Washington criticised China last month after a Chinese fighter jet had a close encounter with a US Navy surveillance aircraft in international airspace off Hainan province. Jia Qingguo, a professor of international relations at Peking University, said Rice was expected to discuss ways to avoid collisions between US and Chinese aircraft. Jia said the US would demand Chinese aircraft not go near US aircraft, and Beijing would tell Washington to reduce surveillance of China. "China is probably willing to have its aircraft stay further away from US [planes] if Washington agrees to scale down surveillance activities," he said. "Neither of the nations wants a collision of military aircraft." A serious confrontation between the two militaries happened in 2001, when a Chinese pilot was killed after his fighter jet intercepted a US spy plane near Hainan. The US air crew was held captive in China for 11 days until Washington expressed regret. Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong said neither nation wanted tensions to overshadow the talks between Obama and Xi in November. "Both nations may want to refrain from open confrontation in the coming two months even though their mutual suspicions will linger," he said. Jia said cybersecurity and counterterrorism efforts would also be on the agenda as concerns grew about the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ^ top ^

China, CEE countries discuss new cooperation (Xinhua)
2014-09-04
The 2nd High-Level Symposium of Think Tanks of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries was held in Slovenia on Wednesday with the delegates from 17 countries on future cooperation. Addressing the symposium, former Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said peace, development and cooperation are mainstream ideology of contemporary international society. Despite the long geographical distance between them, the Chinese and CEE economies could complement each other. In terms of promoting bilateral relations and realizing win-win strategy, China and CEE countries are highly uniform and natural partners, Tang said, adding that closer relationship and cooperation between China and European countries must be on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. He called for exploring new ways and new fields in such international cooperation so as to make early harvest that are visible and touchable. In response, former Slovenian president Danilo Turk also attached great importance to international cooperation, and expected to beef up mutual understanding and exchanges between CEE countries and China. He praised Ljubljana-based Confucius Institute for its positive role in promoting cultural exchanges between Slovenia and China. Igor Sencar, foreign ministry state secretary of Slovenia, spoke highly of Slovenia-China cooperation, noting that China has made a successful investment in the production of electric buses in Maribor, while cooperation between Slovenian and Chinese high-tech companies is also producing results. The senior diplomat expected tourism will be an important opportunity for cooperation in the future. The first High-Level Symposium of Think Tanks of China and CEE Countries took place in Beijing, China on Dec. 19, 2013. ^ top ^

China expects Putin's plan conducive to solution of Ukraine crisis (China Daily)
2014-09-04
China hopes the seven-point plan proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin helps to create favorable conditions for the political solution of the Ukraine crisis, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday. China took notice of the peace plan proposed by Putin, he said in a daily press briefing when asked to comment on the plan. "China has always called on both sides of the clashes in Ukraine to cease fire and conduct an inclusive dialogue in the hope of solving the crisis in a political way," Qin said. Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a seven-point plan on Wednesday to stop military clashes in southeast Ukraine, which have claimed over 2,600 lives since March. The plan calls for an end to active offensive operations by armed forces and armed militia groups in southeast Ukraine's Donetsk and Lugansk areas. It also presses for the withdrawal of Ukrainian armed forces to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. It allows for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire; and excluding all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone. The plan also includes the opening of humanitarian corridors, allowing repair brigades to come to damaged settlements to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and others. ^ top ^

Chinese VP vows to promote ties with U.S. (Xinhua)
2014-09-04
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said Thursday that China will work with the United States to promote bilateral ties. Li made the remarks as he met former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the Great Hall of the People when they attended the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Li said both sides should implement the consensus reached by Chinese and U.S. leaders and be firmly committed to building a new model of major-power relationship between the two countries. Li said it will be healthy for the two countries to develop bilateral relations on the principle of non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Carter said as a witness to the development of bilateral ties, he is willing to make more efforts to promote friendly U.S.-China relations. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Jilin governor Bayanqolu named party chief in anti-corruption reshuffle (SCMP)
2014-09-01
The Communist Party promoted Jilin Governor Bayanqolu to be the province's new party chief, Xinhua reported yesterday. Bayanqolu, 58, an ethnic Mongolian, will take over from Wang Rulin, who will be "given a new appointment", according to the brief dispatch. Jiang Chaoliang, chairman of Agricultural Bank of China, had been nominated as a candidate for Jilin governor, pending legislative approval, local media reported, citing Jilin Television's main news bulletin. Xinhua did not specify Wang's new position, but the Sunday Morning Post reported that he would replace Yuan Chunqing as Shanxi party chief. The Post reported that Yuan would be assigned to a less important post rather than investigated, but the reshuffle would make him the most senior leader in Shanxi to be enmeshed in the anti-graft campaign sweeping the country. Bayanqolu will be the only member of an ethnic minority to head a provincial party committee in the present administration. His previous positions include a stint as a senior party official on the Zhejiang provincial committee between 2001 and 2007, an appointment that overlapped much of President Xi Jinping's time as governor and, later, party boss of the eastern province. Yuan was promoted to Shanxi party chief in May 2010, and Wang, who served his entire political career in Jilin, was named Jilin party chief in December 2012. The Jilin announcement coincided with the appearance of an advert in People's Daily for party magazine Qiushi, or Seeking Truth. The advert listed the contents of today's issue, including an article by Yuan criticising corruption. But the ad made no reference to Yuan's official title. Seven vice-provincial-level party cadres in Shanxi have been investigated over the past few months, including vice-governor Ren Runhou. ^ top ^

Three China universities vow to strengthen ideological control over students, teachers (SCMP)
2014-09-01
Three prestigious mainland universities have vowed to strengthen ideological control over students and teachers, according to statements in the latest issue of Qiushi, the Communist Party journal. The statements, by Communist Party committees of Peking University, Shanghai's Fudan University and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, appeared in the article "How to carry out ideological work at universities under new historical conditions". Peking University said it would tighten control of the “internet battlefield” and build a sound monitoring and management system for online public opinion. The school has set up a task force to monitor online opinion on a 24-hour basis. "In recent years, some people with ulterior motives have added fuel to the flames on the Internet... ultimately targeting the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system," the Qiushi article read. Those actions "created a very large negative impact on public opinion on the Internet and social consensus," the piece, written by the university's party committee, went on. The committee called on teachers and students to "take a firm stand and be unequivocal, and fight against speech and actions that touch upon the party's and country's principles and bottom lines in a timely, efficient and resolute manner". Peking University also vowed to fight any comments that sabotage the Communist Party and socialism. Fudan University, meanwhile, put its focus on teaching staff under 45 years of age, saying that some of them do not have “correct understandings” of the problems China is facing in its transitional stage. The Shanghai-based university said it would strengthen training for the teachers and that the evaluation system for them would be reformed. The statements come at a time when President Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on the media and intensifying a crackdown on liberal intellectuals. In June, a senior party discipline inspector criticised the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of the country's most influential think tank, for being “infiltrated by foreign forces”. People's Daily, the party mouthpiece, said the following month that the academy would be built into a stronghold of orthodox Marxism, and scholars at the think tank should be assessed by its loyalty to the ideology. China on Saturday ordered journalists of both traditional and online media to learn "Marxist news values" and uphold the principles of news as prescribed by the party. ^ top ^

China Red Cross head leaves post, reasons unclear (Global Times)
2014-09-02
Zhao Baige, executive vice president and Party secretary of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), will no longer hold the post, the RCSC announced on its official website on Tuesday. Xu Ke, deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, was appointed the Party secretary of the RCSC and also nominated as a candidate for the organization's executive vice president. Zhao was appointed as the RCSC's executive vice president in September 2011. The RCSC was dragged into a serious corruption scandal in June 2011 after Guo Meimei, a young woman who claimed to be a general manager of a bogus organization "Red Cross Chamber of Commerce" showed off her lavish lifestyle online. Guo was arrested on August 20 for allegedly running an illegal casino. In a confession aired afterwards on China Central Television she clarified that she has no connection to the RCSC. Zhao vowed to resign if she proved unable to clean up the image of the RCSC within three years in a press conference in April 2013, reported people.com.cn. Zhao's reason for leaving office is unclear at present. ^ top ^

Fourth plenum to focus on rule of law (Global Times)
2014-09-03
The upcoming Party plenum is expected to specify and foster implementation of a major reform package rolled out a year ago, with the rule of law, which analysts say holds the key to almost all challenges confronting China, named the major focus. The more than 200 members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will convene in Beijing in October for their annual meeting to steer the country's political path. A meeting of the central leadership in late July highlighted the importance of "ruling the country with laws," and named it the top agenda of the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the 18th CPC Central Committee. The rule of law formally appeared on the top agenda of the CPC after China's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, and was listed as one of the major goals for the country's political reform at a Party plenum in 1995. Although China has been marching toward this goal over the past three decades, the pace slowed after the new millennium. A comprehensive reform package released after the 2013 Party plenum reiterated the vow to push for the rule of law. "The upcoming plenum aims to forge consensus among the Party over the follow-up measures to implement last year's guidance and form a formal decision [on the push for rule of law]," Yan Jirong, head of the political department at the School of Government affiliated to Peking University, told the Global Times Tuesday. Xie Chuntao, a professor specializing in Party history at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the rule of law's resurgence to the Party's top agenda is a result of grave pressure exerted by problems challenging the country. It is believed that corruption, labor disputes, pollution, land seizures and food safety problems all point to the urgent need to improve regulation and implementation. The announcement for the fourth plenum's opening came simultaneously with the announcement of the official investigation into the "severe disciplinary violations" of Zhou Yongkang, who chaired the Committee of Political and Legal Affairs under the CPC Central Committee from 2007-12. It is still unknown whether any conclusion about the probe into Zhou's case will be announced at the plenum. Discussion over the transformation of the role played by the Committee of Political and Legal Affairs is also expected to be one of the possible topics at the plenum. Zheng Yongnian, a professor from the National University of Singapore, last month wrote in an opinion piece in the Singapore-based Chinese language Lianhe Zaobao newspaper, that the committee should transform from a mechanism for maintaining stability to one that promotes legal construction. "The key is to rebuild the judiciary's authority by promoting professionalism, curbing corruption and minimizing administrative influence," said Yan. In addition to the expected focus on the rule of law, the plenum is also going to specify measures to promote the market's decisive role in resource allocation and the delegation of government power under the framework of last year's reform package, noted Jiang Yong, a research fellow with the Beijing-based National Strategic Research Center. According to an August report from security brokerage firm Guotai Jun'an Securities, while the plenum's likely focus will not be on economic affairs, the meeting is expected to significantly reinforce the central leadership's authority through the discussion of the rule of law with regard to the economy. "It will provide strong political guarantee for future economic reforms," said the company. A series of laws and regulations on budget, consumption duty and taxation are also expected as a result of reinforced legal governance, said Guotai. ^ top ^

Xi urges anti-Japanese aggression spirit in future development (Xinhua)
2014-09-03
President Xi Jinping called for the Chinese people to carry on the national spirit of the Anti-Japanese War as the country is expecting many "great battles" in its future development. China cultivated the great national spirit of Anti-Japanese War during the war against Japanese aggression, said Xi, addressing a symposium held to mark the 69th anniversary of victory in Anti-Japanese War. "The great national spirit, with patriotism at its core, was a decisive factor for the victory, while the mainstay role of the Communist Party of China (CPC) played during the war was also crucial," Xi said. The anti-Japanese aggression efforts which involved the whole nation are an important "magic tool" for the victory, he added. "We must get prepared for many great battles with new historical characteristics as the country is striving to achieve its goals, gradually realize the common prosperity for all, and realize the Chinese dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Xi said. The President pointed out that, "in the journey ahead of us, we must unswervingly adhere to the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, put development as CPC's top task in governance, comprehensively deepen reform and stick to the path of peaceful development." When summarizing the significance of the victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Xi said the victory utterly crushed Japanese militarism's scheme of enslaving China, resurrected China's status as a big power in the world, and created bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Premier Li Keqiang was also present at the symposium, which was presided over by senior leader Liu Yunshan. ^ top ^

Top prosecutor vows against miscarriage of justice (Global Times)
2014-09-04
China's top prosecutor has pledged efforts to prevent miscarriage of justice following the high-profile acquittal of a man previously convicted of murder. Procurator-General Cao Jianming called on judicial workers to reflect on problems that persist in the judicial system, despite attention and measures to address them, according to an article in the Thursday edition of the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China. Last month, a court in east China's Fujian Province acquitted Nian Bin, a man imprisoned for murder, citing insufficient evidence. Nian had been convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 by a court that found him guilty of poisoning four people, causing two deaths. His acquittal in the case raised public outcry for stricter implementation of rules to protect defendants in the face of doubt or insufficient evidence. Some judicial workers have misconceptions about law enforcement, which have resulted in the presumption of guilt in their work, Cao said at a recent commencement ceremony of the National Prosecutors College. In some cases, defendants were not given the benefit of the doubt, and some prosecutors have relied excessively on confessions and testimony rather than factual evidence, he said. Some procuratorial workers haven't paid proper attention to protecting defendants' rights and due process when enforcing the law, according to the top prosecutor. Cao called on the country's procuratorial workers to adhere to professional ethics and the rule of law and prudently practice their duties in supervising criminal procedures. Cao stressed that unlawfully obtained evidence should be ruled out in accordance with law. He told law enforcers to resist the temptation of money and interference due to personal relationships. ^ top ^

Shenzhen man sues ISP for Google block (Global Times)
2014-09-04
A local court in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province Thursday heard the first-ever lawsuit in which a local resident sued China Unicom, the country's second-largest telecom operator, for failing to provide access to Google services during a months-long block. Wang Long, the 25-year-old plaintiff, told the Global Times on Thursday that he filed the lawsuit in a local court in Shenzhen's Futian district after he lost access to Google and Gmail. "[I and China Unicom] have a contractual relation. They should offer me telecom services, yet they still failed to provide access [to these sites and services]. They should be held responsible for this failure," Wang said. He added that he had filed no suit beyond the one tied in with the contractual dispute. Wang's posts on Sina Weibo about the "first Google blockage-related lawsuit" caught the attention of Net users, with many praising Wang for taking action against a blockage that took effect in June. Google pulled out from the Chinese mainland and moved its servers to Hong Kong in 2010 after it refused to comply with China's regulations requiring it to filter search terms. After four years, however, Chinese Internet users lost access to the alternative google.com.hk in June. China Unicom was unavailable for comment as of press time, but it admitted the failure to provide access in court, according to Wang. The court did not give any judgment on Thursday but a final rule should be handed down before October. A Beijing-based expert in cyber security, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times that Wang has sued the wrong party. "China Unicom has nothing to do with the failure. It is Google that should be blamed, since it does not operate its business in China. I call on companies like Google or Twitter or Facebook to offer services in China and accept [proper supervision]." ^ top ^

China holds meeting on 13th five-year plan (Xinhua)
2014-09-05
The State Council, China's cabinet, has held a meeting on compiling the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for economic and social development, according to a document released Thursday. "It is the last five-year plan for the country to complete the construction of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 and for achieving decisive results in deepening reforms," said Premier Li Keqiang, who presided over the meeting. In compiling the new plan, the government should consider the profound changes in the international environment, the new realities of China's development and emerging risks and challenges, Li said. China should continue to take development as the top priority, put emphasis on reform and innovation and seek greater progresses in promoting scientific development, transforming development pattern and resolving deep-seated problems, the Premier said. Li said that the country should combine long and short term goals, deal with current challenges and resolve long-term problems. "The plan should not only focus on the five years and reflect diversified goals for building a moderately prosperous society by 2020, but consider development prospects in the longer term," he said. The Premier also stressed restructuring, streamlining administration and delegating power to lower levels, scientific innovation and opening up to the outside world to "make the economy more efficient, society more equitable and development more sustainable." ^ top ^

Authorities 'ready to begin' trying associates of Zhou Yongkang (SCMP)
2014-09-05
Mainland authorities are ready to put a group of officials and businesspeople connected with former state leader Zhou Yongkang on trial, say sources familiar with the situation. The proceedings could start as early as next month and would be carried out one by one, they said. These will pave the way for a possible public hearing for Zhou, who could become the highest-ranking party official to face trial for economic crimes. Zhou will first be ousted from the Communist Party. This will probably take place after a leadership meeting in October. His case would then be transferred to judicial authorities to prepare for a public hearing, one of the sources said. That person added that Zhou's trial could be handled in a format similar to that of Bo Xilai, a political ally of Zhou and the former party chief of Chongqing. Bo, who was jailed for life last year, was given a public trial that attracted media attention around the world. While only a few mainland journalists were allowed to attend, the trial was publicised through regular but heavily censored updates on an official court blog. The corruption investigation into Zhou, a former Politburo Standing Committee member, was only announced on July 29. But many officials and businesspeople linked to him were detained and questioned as early as late 2012 - when graft investigators targeted former Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng. Former Sichuan vice-governor Guo Yongxiang, former chief regulator of state-owned enterprises Jiang Jiemin, former deputy public security minister Li Dongsheng, and tycoons connected to Zhou could face trial soon, the sources said. Most of these cases were given to judicial officials in Xianning and Yichang in Hubei province, sources said, meaning the trials were likely to be held in these two cities. This would be in line with the practice of trying senior officials in cities outside their former sphere of influence. Separately, former deputy logistics chief of the People's Liberation Army Gu Junshan will also stand trial soon on corruption charges, according to a senior military official. Cases involving the military are customarily handled by the military courts behind closed doors. But the leadership was considering making Gu's case public because of the publicity it generated, the official said. Gu was charged in March with embezzlement, bribery, and misuse of state funds. Investigators said Gu had bribed Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xu is also under investigation, as reported earlier. An internal briefing said Xu received more than 35 million yuan (HK$44 million) from Gu directly or through family members. Some of the bribes allegedly took the form of real estate. In January, media group Caixin reported that Gu allegedly pocketed 6 per cent of a 2 billion yuan sale of military land. ^ top ^

 

 

Beijing

Beijing, surrounding areas to intensify car pollution treatment (Xinhua)
2014-09-04
Chinese capital Beijing and its surrounding areas are planning a surveillance network to deal with car exhaust fumes and reduce smog. The regional platform will realize data sharing in different places and strengthen coordinated law enforcement to improve the vehicle emission monitoring, said Li Kunsheng, a vehicle exhaust administration official of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau. "It is an important move for regional air pollution treatment,"said Li at a meeting on joint air pollution treatment for Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and surrounding areas, in Beijing on Thursday. A network covering Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will eventually be expanded to include Shanxi Province, Shandong Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Currently, standards differ in terms of emissions of new vehicles and the road surveillance. At the end of July, the number of vehicles in Beijing reached 5.58 million. In addition, another 200,000 cars enter or pass Beijing each day. Vehicle emissions, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, account for 86 percent, 32 percent and 56 percent respectively of the totals of these pollutants in Beijing's air. Vehicles provide 31 percent of PM2.5 pollutants in Beijing, with 20 percent in Tianjin and 15 percent in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Eight Shanghai journalists, PR executives detained over alleged extortion scam (SCMP)
2014-09-05
Shanghai police have detained eight people from a financial news website and two public relations firms for allegedly threatening to print critical news reports about companies if they did not pay to suppress them. Police have detained the editor-in-chief and the deputy editor of 21cbh.com a financial news website linked to the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper. Also held were senior executives at the finance-related PR companies Roya Investment Services, based in Shanghai, and Shenzhen-based Nukirin. They have been accused by the police of obtaining huge gains by blackmailing companies, China Central Television reported. The financial news website issued a statement on its social media account yesterday saying its staff had been taken away by police on Wednesday night and it pledged to co-operate with the investigation. Since November, the suspects had allegedly approached companies that were planning stock market listings or business restructuring or upgrades and then published reports that exaggerated the positive side of the firms and ignored the negative if the companies were willing to pay up. The financial website posted reports attacking firms that refused to pay, putting pressure on them to place adverts or come up with cash, the state television report quoted police as saying. Police in Guangdong, Beijing and Hunan province are helping with the investigation, as dozens of companies from these areas are involved in the case. Paying for media coverage is banned on the mainland, but the practice is common, including in state-owned media. The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in June it would revoke the licences of media organisations that had taken bribes in exchange for news coverage and offending journalists' press cards would be withdrawn. A Shanghai-based PR manager for a US company, who asked not to be named, said she had been approached by mainland journalists who either told her directly to buy advertisements or hinted that she needed to buy them in exchange for writing a story. […] ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangzhou urged to improve handling of illegal immigrants (China Daily)
2014-09-01
Guangzhou must improve its management of the growing number of illegal immigrants there, a new report says. The report - published by the Guangzhou Developmental Academy with Guangzhou University - says Guangzhou has a transient foreign population of more than 1.92 million, the highest of any Chinese city. Another 28,000-plus expatriates stay in the Guangdong provincial capital for more than six months. The report said that half of the temporary-stay foreigners come from Africa, and that Guangzhou has the largest settlement of Africans in Asia due to "its good climate, geographical position, business environment and tolerance". The report said problems involving foreigners who illegally immigrate, overstay and are employed without work permits are serious in all of Guangdong. In 2007, police investigated more than 7,000 foreigners on accusations of being in Guangdong illegally. Over just a year, the figure almost doubled to more than 13,000 in 2008, including 210 illegal immigrants allegedly involved in 26 types of crimes. The report suggested the government should adopt measures used by Germany and other Western countries to handle those countries' own growing number of foreigners who illegally enter, overstay, work without permits or conduct business without a license. Suggested measures include establishing special refugee camps, detention houses and special organizations for illegal immigrants. Zhang Yiri, an associate professor at Guangzhou City Polytechnic, said that while efforts to combat illegal entry should be strengthened, local companies that illegally employ foreigners who have no valid work or residence permits also should be identified. Government departments should expand investigations of these companies and impose heavier punishments on those that violate the law, he said. "Those who illegally provide accommodation or bank accounts to foreigners without valid travel documents or whose visas have expired should be seriously punished," he said. In 2011, the Guangdong government tightened up rules governing foreigners living and working in the province as part of an effort to crack down on illegal immigration and those who overstay their visas and work without permits. ^ top ^

Plan to extend Pearl River Delta city clusters aimed at boosting poorer parts (SCMP)
2014-09-05
Guangdong has unveiled an urbanisation blueprint to expand the size of "city clusters" in the Pearl River Delta to boost development in the inner regions of the province. The plan also aims to free large towns from the restrictions of their township-level governance as many have already developed into medium-sized cities. The proposal for the towns is subject to Beijing's approval. Although Guandong is one of China's most successful provinces, much of its prosperity remains centred around the delta, resulting in a two-tracked economy of wealthy coastal cities and economically deprived townships and rural centres. Guangdong's urbanisation blueprint for 2014 to 2020, released this week, comes six months after the national urbanisation plan was launched in March. The almost 100-page report, released on Wednesday, will undergo public consultation until September 18. Expanding the three city clusters would boost growth in poorer cities while increasing regional and global competitiveness. Dr Peng Peng, at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said expanding the affluent metropolises of the Pearl River Delta would hasten growth in poorer neighbouring cities. "The delta's growth engines can help correct the regional development imbalance," he said. Peng noted that existing townships such as Changan near Dongguan and Ronggui in the Shunde district of Foshan each had more than a million residents and a gross domestic product in the tens of billions of yuan, on par with other medium-sized mainland cities. "While upgrading these giant townships could boost growth, it could also create administrative obstacles that would need to be addressed - such as how a township-level city like Ronggui could be managed by a district-level government like Shunde in future," Peng added. But Dr Ding Li, a planning expert also at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said upgrading townships with city-level administrations was "a meaningless move that would create administrative chaos". ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China-Eurasia Expo opens in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2014-09-01
The fourth China-Eurasia Expo (CEE), a six-day international fair, opened in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang attended the opening ceremony along with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhoomart Otorbayev and Georgian Deputy Chairman of the Parliament Zviad Dzidziguri. This year's expo theme "Opening up and Cooperation for Building Silk Road Economic Belt" aims at drawing regional economies together to discuss development strategies. In his keynote speech, Wang lauded the economic belt, which involves over 40 Asian and European countries and regions with a combined population of 3 billion, telling participants at the expo that it will bring great opportunities for countries and regions along the route. The Silk Road economic belt eyes the cultural revival of the Silk Road, which historically links China with Central Asia and Europe, as a way of developing political and economic ties. Stressing the core values needed in reviving the Silk Road, Wang asked countries along the route to be inclusive and open-minded so as to reach a win-win situation. He urged streamlining trade procedures, improving industrial levels and building an efficient transportation network in a step toward a vigorous economic belt. Five areas should be prioritized in the hugely ambitious scheme, including stepping up policy communication, improving road connectivity, promoting unimpeded trade, enhancing monetary circulation as well as increasing understanding among people, according to Wang. The Silk Road economic belt has injected vitality into regional cooperation in Eurasia. The expo will help drive such cooperation further and contribute to common development, Li Jinzao, China's Vice Minister of Commerce, said during the opening ceremony. The annual event attracted roughly 25,000 participants from China, 60 foreign countries and four international organizations. It will run from Sept. 1 to 6. Zhang Chunxian, Xinjiang's Communist Party chief, said opening-up and cooperation are what is needed in building the route. He said Xinjiang is sparing no efforts in building itself into a core hub of transportation, trade, finance, culture and healthcare services along the belt, adding the region is willing to work with countries in Eurasia to reach common prosperity. With the building of the Silk Road economic belt high on the agenda, the expo will hold a host of significant forums to boost exchanges in terms of politics, economy, trade, energy as well as other fields. The previous event witnessed the signing of some 1,000 domestic projects worth over 700 billion yuan (114 billion U.S. dollars). Foreign trade volume totaled about 5 billion dollars, according to organizers. The expo was upgraded from a regional trade fair, the 19-year-old China Urumqi Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Fair, in September 2011 when the first international event was held. ^ top ^

Xinjiang county offers 10,000-yuan reward for Uygurs who marry Han Chinese (SCMP)
2014-09-02
A county in the restive Xinjiang region has introduced a package of perks and cash rewards to encourage people from ethnic minorities to marry members of the Han majority. Under rules introduced late last month, any inter-ethnic couples in Qiemo county, also known as Qargan, who register their marriages there can apply for a 10,000 yuan (HK$12,570) annual payment, the local government said on its website. Payments will be made each year for up to five years as long as the marriage remains "harmonious". "Our major consideration was to stabilise Xinjiang and promote cultural integration among different ethnic groups," a county official said of the policy. The official said Qiemo was the first county in Xinjiang - where the average annual rural income is 7,400 yuan - to introduce such a payment, and the first in the country to roll out detailed preferential policies to encourage inter-ethnic marriage. He said there were 54 such marriages on the county's books but no new unions had been registered since the new policy took effect. The payments only apply to couples registering after the policy's introduction. The county, which is in the south of the far-western region, has a population of more than 100,000. More than 72 per cent are Uygur and fewer than 26 per cent Han. Uygurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people, make up a large minority of Xinjiang's population. On top of the cash rewards, Qiemo has promised education and health care subsidies to the couples and their children. The local government will also pay 90 per cent of each family's medical expenses that are not covered by existing government insurance schemes. Jiang Zhaoyong, a Beijing-based expert on ethnic affairs, said marriage between members of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang was very rare, and economic incentives would not be effective. "Most Uygurs only accept marriage within their ethnic and religious group. Those who marry Han usually choose to move out of Xinjiang to avoid tension," Jiang said. "There's nothing wrong with encouraging communication and cultural integration between Uygur and Han, but I doubt that spending taxpayers' money on a reward scheme to encourage mixed marriage would be the best way to do so," he said. Dilxat Raxit, of exiled group the World Uygur Congress, told Radio Free Asia the local government was using the rewards to try to speed up the assimilation of Uygurs. Raxit said the Turkic culture of the Uygurs was different from Han culture in almost every way. ^ top ^

Violent terrorism taking toll on tourism, investment in Xinjiang (Global Times)
2014-09-02
[...] Due to a series of violent attacks in Xinjiang, the local tourism industry had shrunk dramatically, hitting its worst point in the past two decades. "In the first half of this year, the tourism industry in Xinjiang declined for the first time in the past two decades," Ma Rui, spokesman and deputy inspector of the Xinjiang Tourism Bureau, told the Southern Weekly. Zhong Liangyou, a local guide who has been in the industry for 12 years, echoed this. He said the tourism situation this year is no better than the situation after 2009's July 5 riot in Urumqi, which left 197 dead. The industry picked up again in 2010, with its tourist population maintaining a year-on-year growth of 20 percent, official statistics from the local tourism administration showed. The turning point happened in 2013 when growth slowed down to 7 percent, and eventually, in the first half of this year, the growth fell below zero. Tourism is not the only industry being affected by the tense situation in Xinjiang. According to a Southern Weekly report in August, the unpredictable violence has had a considerable negative influence on the local economy as a whole, affecting sectors ranging from tourism, investment from other provinces, and other tertiary industries. Xinjiang's GDP growth slowed down in the second quarter of this year, a significant slowdown compared with the rapid growth in the past years since 2010, official statistics from Xinjiang Development and Reform Commission showed. Zhang Chunlin, director of the Xinjiang Development and Reform Commission, said the economic decline was attributable to the unstable situation caused by the violent attacks. Zhang also said it may have a negative influence on the confidence of investors. […] "The tourism industry in Xinjiang was slightly better in July, but all of a sudden, the number of tourists dropped drastically in August after the attack in Shache," Zhong said. Official statistics from the local tourism administration recording visitors to the world-famous Kanas Lake scenic area supported Zhong's speculation. The number of visitors in July picked up a little bit on a year-on-year basis, while in the first half of August, the number of tourists dropped at least 14.7 percent, and the total number of visitors to Xinjiang in the first half of August reached 77,000. [...] ^ top ^

Silk Road plan to boost jobs in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2014-09-04
Many State-owned and private businesses in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are hiring more local people as they are pursuing a larger foothold in a lucrative market with more access to Chinese companies on the Silk Road economic belt. Meng Fengchao, chairman of China Railway Construction Co, said on the sidelines of the fourth China-Eurasia Expo in Urumqi on Wednesday that as Xinjiang plans to build more international rail routes on the Silk Road economic belt to compete with established rivals in China's western and central regions, the company has seen lots of potential in this market. This years, Xinjiang will offer two regular international block train services - trains whose cars all share the same point of origin and destination. The first train will depart from Urumqi to Mersin in southern Turkey via Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran by the end of this year. Another train service to Moscow will be launched at the same time. The rail construction company has set a goal of recruiting up to 600 Xinjiang natives with university or post-graduate qualification within two years to enhance its marketing, research and development capabilities in Xinjiang. "Railway development is a reflection of economic growth. Rail investment is rising, and the types of trade and cross-border business models are diversifying," Meng said. "So this can create more jobs in the service sector from a long-term perspective." Meng said that because Xinjiang, Central Asian countries and Mongolia have many similarities in the way they do business as well as in cultural and language backgrounds, having more local staff members would be helpful to build "more railroad along the Silk Road economic belt and employ a large local workforce, once the company wins big-ticket projects in the region sooner or later". The second central work conference on Xinjiang held in May emphasized that the central government will implement a variety of support policies in employment, education and poverty reduction in the region. To support the local job market, the Xinjiang regional government in July required that Xinjiang residents make up at least 70 percent of the new recruitment quota in all government investment and aid projects, and State-owned enterprises in the region. In the meantime, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council demanded that the staff proportion from ethnic groups in State-owned enterprises must exceed 10 percent within two years and reach 25 percent over the next three years, which would create 30,000 jobs for local residents from different ethnic groups. Kang Ning, deputy general manager of China Post Group, said his company has already begun to recruit Xinjiang residents, in particular ethnic Russians and Kazakhs, to improve its China-Kazakhstan-Russia postal service, which was launched in October of last year. Boosted by the development of e-commerce among the three neighboring countries, a total of 24.59 million packages had been sent to Russia and Kazakhstan from China through this regional delivery service by the end of July. Kang said China Post needs more staff members who can speak Russian or Kazakh to meet the increasing demand for qualified personnel as the Silk Road economic belt is developed. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Take it or leave it, NPC tells city as it endorses framework for 2017 poll (SCMP)
2014-09-01
The nation's top legislature yesterday endorsed a tougher-than-expected framework for Hong Kong's first "one man, one vote" chief executive election in 2017 - sparking condemnation from pan-democrats and an Occupy Central vow to go ahead with its civil disobedience campaign. The framework, approved unanimously by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, allows only two or three candidates to run. They will need approval from a majority of a 1,200-strong nominating committee. Methods for electing the committee, its composition and size will be "in accordance with" those of the election committee that decided the 2012 poll. It will be divided between four sectors and largely chosen by about 250,000 individual and corporate voters in dozens of subsectors. The focus now moves to Hong Kong, where officials will fight to win over the five pan-democratic lawmakers they need to win a two-thirds majority for the package in the Legislative Council. But all 27 pan-democrats yesterday said they would vote against any plan based on Beijing's framework, and Occupy Central leaders said they would put into motion a series of protests culminating with 10,000 activists blocking streets in the heart of the city. Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying called on the public and politicians to seize the opportunity of universal suffrage. Li warned that a Legco veto could drag Hong Kong into a longer debate that would harm the city's development. "Some people say that if we don't have universal suffrage in 2017, we can do it again in five years' time. But … it would be impossible for the development opportunities that were lost to come again," Li said. Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, warned Beijing would not turn a blind eye if Occupy Central spiralled out of control. If it did, Beijing would "handle the situation according to Article14 of the Basic Law", the clause under which the city government can seek help from the People's Liberation Army. But Occupy organisers were defiant as supporters rallied outside government headquarters in Admiralty. "Today is the darkest day of Hong Kong's democratic development. The road of dialogue has come to an end and the occupation of Central will definitely happen," co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said. The Hong Kong government is expected to bring forward a detailed reform plan later this year. A government source said pan-democrats should give serious thought to the progress that allowing five million people to vote for their leader would represent. "Democratic development will come to a standstill if universal suffrage can't be achieved in 2017," the source said. "The central government will stick to the framework set by the Standing Committee in future." Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said universal suffrage went beyond "one person, one vote" with any true democratic election offering voters a real choice. "We are not North Korea," she said. ^ top ^

Chinese officials explain debated decision on 2017 HK election (Xinhua)
2014-09-02
Senior Chinese officials explained at a meeting here Monday a legislative decision on electing Hong Kong's chief executive by universal suffrage, which has been heatedly debated in the Special Administrative Region (SAR). Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, and other officials, told representatives from Hong Kong's various social sectors how and why the decision was made. The NPC Standing Committee decided on Sunday to grant universal suffrage in selection of Hong Kong's chief executive from 2017 onward with two or three candidates nominated by a "broadly representative" nomination committee. Li Fei noted that some local pan-democratic lawmakers threatened to veto the proposed universal suffrage plan in line with the NPC decision and some even threatened to occupy the Central. But if the central authorities give in just because some people threaten with illegal activities, that would only bring more and worse law-breaking behavior. […] Li's speech was interrupted by some pan-democratic lawmakers of the Hong Kong Legislative Council who marched around in the conference hall and yelled slogans. Outside the hall, pan-democrats and pro-establishment supporters argued each other seriously. The main argument of pan-democrats focuses on the candidate nomination for the universal suffrage. They complained that the top legislature should not rule out other nomination powers such as civil nomination. Officials with the central authorities and the SAR government have repeatedly said any other nomination channels have no legal basis in the Hong Kong Basic Law which gives the nomination power only to the nomination committee. Li Fei denied there is any unreasonable limitation on candidates for the universal suffrage. He told Hong Kong press later in the afternoon that only the nomination committee has the power to nominate candidates. […] Li Fei said the way in electing nomination committee members under different sub-sectors are still open for discussion and he believes that nomination committee members will certainly consider opinions of the people they speak for. Li said the SAR Legislative Council holds the key to the implementation of the universal suffrage in 2017. If the plan was vetoed by the Legislative Council members, the election method for the next chief executive will remain unchanged as that in 2012. Feng Wei, deputy director with the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said that a representative system is not the only way to realize democracy in modern society, and a hybrid system that allow various channels for the citizens to participate in political activities. […] ^ top ^

China warns Britain that ties are at risk if UK parliamentary inquiry continues (SCMP)
2014-09-02
The National People's Congress has written to British lawmakers telling them ties between the two nations are at risk unless they stay out of Hong Kong's affairs. The foreign ministry in Beijing confirmed the warning yesterday, as the lawmaker heading a British inquiry on Hong Kong said the central government may have breached the terms of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration when it set rules for democratic elections in 2017. But the lawmaker, Richard Ottaway, admitted Britain was in a "weak" position when it came to admonishing China for a breach of the deal that settled Hong Kong's future and paved the way for the 1997 handover. The debate arose after the NPC Standing Committee set a framework for political reform under which only two or three candidates could run in the first one-man, one-vote election for chief executive in 2017. They would need support from half of the members of a nominating committee expected to be dominated by Beijing loyalists. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing that the NPC's Foreign Affairs Committee had written the letter, while ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming also conveyed China's views to the lawmakers. "Issues concerning the political reform of Hong Kong fall into China's domestic affairs, which allow no interference from the outside," he said. "It is justifiable for the Chinese side to express its solemn position on this issue." The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Ottaway, announced an inquiry into Britain's relations with Hong Kong in July. Ottaway confirmed to the Post yesterday that Liu raised objections later that month, and that the letter urging it to drop the probe had followed two weeks ago. The letter advised committee members to "bear in mind the larger picture of China-UK relations". The lawmakers are examining the implementation of the Joint Declaration, which states that Hong Kong should have a high degree of autonomy and executive power, and that personal rights in the territory must be enshrined by law. Ottaway said Beijing's ruling on reform appeared to have breached those undertakings."If you have a committee that is not neutral and is nominating a limited number of candidates, there seems to be a prima facie case that the undertakings given have been breached," Ottaway told the BBC.But he admitted Britain had little leverage with Beijing. "As far as sanctions are concerned, frankly we are in a fairly weak position. Indeed, we were in a very weak position right from the beginning when this declaration was signed," Ottaway said. In July, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Britain would honour its 1984 pledge to "mobilise the international community and pursue every legal and other avenue available" if China breached the deal. But other members of the British government are eyeing Chinese investors and tourists and attempting to rebuild ties after Prime Minister David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in 2012. ^ top ^

Britain has 'moral obligation' to speak up on Hong Kong, says ex-governor Chris Patten (SCMP)
2014-09-03
It is London's “duty” to speak up on Beijing's recent decision about Hong Kong's political reform because Britain has a “moral obligation” to the city, according to a former colonial governor of Hong Kong. In an article published in the Financial Times, Chris Patten also stressed that even if there were “commercial consequences” for speaking up – referring to trade ties between Britain and China – they should not “be an overriding concern when our honour is on the line”. “The Joint Declaration under which the territory passed from British to Chinese rule guaranteed Hong Kong's way of life for 50 years after 1997 … As successive British governments have accepted, the UK has a continuing 'moral and political obligation' to ensure that China respects its commitments,” Patten said. The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed on December 19, 1984, stipulated that Hong Kong shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” principle after its re-unification with China on July 1, 1997. “We have a huge stake in the wellbeing of Hong Kong, with a political system in balance with its economic freedom. I hope these questions will be resolved in a way that does not jeopardise the city's future,” Patten said. [...] ^ top ^

Britain moves to defuse tensions with Beijing over Hong Kong's political reform (SCMP)
2014-09-04
The British government on Thursday said it welcomed Beijing's assurances that it would allow Hong Kong to elect its chief executive through universal suffrage, but failed to mention Britain's treaty obligation outlined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. In a statement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British government said: “We welcome the confirmation that China's objective is for the election of Hong Kong's chief executive through universal suffrage,” “The UK's position has always been that the detail of the constitutional package is for the governments of Hong Kong and China and the people of Hong Kong to decide in line with the Basic Law,” the statement read. “While we recognise that there is no perfect model, the important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and a real stake in the outcome,” the statement continued. “We recognise that the detailed terms that the National People's Congress has set for the 2017 election will disappoint those who are arguing for a more open nomination process.” “We hope that the next period of consultation will produce arrangements which allow a meaningful advance for democracy in Hong Kong, and we encourage all parties to engage constructively in discussion to that end.” However, the statement made no mention of the 1984 joint declaration, which stipulated that Hong Kong should enjoy extensive autonomy under the "one country, two systems" principle after reunification with the mainland on July 1, 1997. The response comes two days after Chris Patten, the last colonial governor of Hong Kong, wrote in the Financial Times calling on London to stand up to Beijing as it had a “moral and obligation” to the city, having co-signed the 1984 treaty. The Chief Executive's Office hit back at Patten's comments on Beijing's reform plan on Thursday, after Beijing loyalist Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai criticised Patten for looking at Hong Kong from a “pre-handover viewpoint”. On Sunday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee ruled that while Hong Kong could pick its chief executive under "one man, one vote" in 2017, the candidates for the job would be chosen by a 1,200-member nominating committee, which would put forward only two or three who had to win the support of over half its members. Pan-democrats – who fear only pro-Beijing candidates will be allowed to stand – described the decision as unacceptable, because the nomination threshold was only one-eighth when a 1,200-strong election committee nominated and elected Leung Chun-ying in 2012. ^ top ^

Overseas Chinese, experts laud development of Hong Kong's political system (Xinhua)
2014-09-04
Overseas Chinese and experts have spoken positively of a decision by China's top legislature on Hong Kong's electoral reform, saying it is a practical, wise move that will promote social harmony in Hong Kong. The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee decided on Sunday to grant universal suffrage in selection of Hong Kong's chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee. Wu Huiqiu, chairman of the National Association for China's Peaceful Unification in Washington D.C., said the decision is of great significance for the long-term political stability in Hong Kong. The principles set in the decision suit the actual condition of Hong Kong and take into account Hong Kong residents' aspirations, said Wu, adding that Hong Kong has been granted a high level of autonomy within the framework of "one country, two systems." Peter Lee, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Houston, said democracy is not expected to be accomplished at one go in in any country. The universal suffrage is an important step for the democratic process in Hong Kong, Lee said. Wang Xingwu, vice chairman of the Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago, said the Chinese central government has honored its commitments that a universal suffrage will be realized in Hong Kong by 2017 and there should be rules to follow on the issue. Qian Feng, vice director of the Chinese-language newspaper Asian Daily in Thailand, said the issues related to Hong Kong are China's internal affairs, in which foreign governments should not interfere. As a British colony, Hong Kong's economic and political affairs had been administrated by governors sent by Britain before its return to China, Qian said, adding that it was completely authoritarian. He said a democratic process did not begin until Hong Kong's return to China in 1997. From nomination by the central government to the universal suffrage in selection of the region's chief executive in 2017, Hong Kong's democracy will make a big stride, he said, noting that both local residents and the international community should recognize the positive meaning of the decision. […] ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macau's Fernando Chui re-elected chief executive in unopposed poll (SCMP)
2014-09-01
Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on was re-elected uncontested as Macau's chief executive yesterday in a choreographed exercise that prompted thousands of residents to demand universal suffrage. Chui was selected by a 400-strong election committee made up mainly of pro-Beijing elites and politicians. They gave him 95.96 per cent support, or 380 of the 396 votes cast, up from 95.3 per cent in 2009. There were a record 16 blank or invalid votes, however, due partly to an expansion of the election committee from 300 in 2009. The election took place a day after the end of an unofficial seven-day "civil referendum" in which 95 per cent of 8,688 residents voted in favour of universal suffrage for the 2019 election. There were complaints of rights violations last week after police arrested several organisers of the referendum for allegedly breaching personal data laws. Unlike Hong Kong's Basic Law, Macau's mini-constitution makes no mention of universal suffrage as a goal. But calls for democracy have been growing. Chui was reluctant to talk about his re-election result. "The statistics are out now, but I will not comment on it," he said. "I am thankful … for the chance to serve the Macau public." He did acknowledge shortfalls in his first term - culminating in a May rally against a proposed bill that would have lavished benefits on outgoing chief executives and other government officials. "In retrospect, many social problems could have been resolved more expeditiously and effectively", Chui said. Bill Chou Kwok-ping, a core referendum campaigner with the New Macau Association, said: "It is time for the government to face up to reality and launch political reform." Chou said that all personal data collected in the referendum had been permanently erased from the computer system. Fellow activist Sulu Sou Ka-hou said: "The less sincere the government is about political reform, the likelier it is for political activism to grow." Chui said he would focus on economic diversification away from the gambling sector - an industry that generates more income in the former Portuguese enclave than anywhere else in the world. "We will … speed up and enhance an appropriate economic diversification and spare no effort to improve social well-being," Chui said in his victory speech. At a press conference later, he said: "When we review gambling policies later, we will … resolve the social injustices caused by the domination of a single industry."Angela Leong On-kei, fourth wife of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun and an election committee member, said continued effort was needed to ensure the gaming businesses nurtured the growth of small and medium-sized local enterprises. ^ top ^

90pc don't trust Macau leader, says 'referendum' (SCMP)
2014-09-03
Macau chief executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on has suffered his first setback two days after being re-elected, with a so-called civil referendum finding that almost 90 per cent of residents do not trust him. In the poll, organised by three pro-democracy groups, 7,762 Macau residents said they had no confidence in the sole candidate in the chief executive election. They represented 89 per cent of the 8,688 votes cast. Only 388 people - just under 5 per cent - said they trusted Chui, with 528 abstentions and 10 blank votes. "This has shown that Macau residents are no longer staying silent and reluctantly accepting everything," said Sulu Sou Ka-hou, a key member of Macau Conscience, which organised the poll with Macau Youth Dynamics and Open Macau Society. The results of the unofficial referendum, conducted from August 24 to Sunday, came after Chui won the one-horse race with 380 votes from the 400-strong election committee. Sou said the result also proved that Chui's win would not help improve his credibility. The organisers had earlier announced the results of another question asked in the poll, where 95 per cent of the voters - or 8,259 votes - were in favour of universal suffrage for the 2019 election. Sou said the turnout in the referendum, which might seem lukewarm in a city with 624,000 people, was still "encouraging", given the heavy crackdown by the government. Police shut down all five physical polling stations on the first day and detained five organisers on suspicion of breaching data-protection laws. Jason Chao Teng-hei, leader of Open Macau Society, has been placed under judicial investigation. Two journalists working for Macau Concealers - an online medium operated by the city's most prominent pro-democracy group New Macau Association - were also detained by police last Friday after they uploaded a picture on the civil referendum webpage of what was thought to be a staff permit card bearing the Judiciary Police symbol. They were accused of illegally using the emblem of the Judiciary Police, the main police investigation arm. Chao, chief of Macau Concealers, was also held by police after he returned to Macau from Hong Kong last Sunday as a suspect over the logo misuse. Sou said the city's democrats would protest later against the police over their attempt to exhaust every means to attack the referendum. They would also continue to urge the government to start a new round of public consultation on political reform. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Beijing envoy delivers Apec invitation to Taipei (SCMP)
2014-09-04
Taiwan confirmed yesterday that a "special envoy" from the mainland had delivered a letter inviting Taiwan to November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. The invitation was delivered to the government of President Ma Ying-jeou by Gong Qingai, deputy director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office on August 29, Taipei's foreign ministry said. Some local news media said the delivery of the invitation by a deputy director was not in line with protocol because the invitation should be sent to a state leader personally instead of through other officials. But the ministry stressed there was nothing wrong in the delivery. Thirteen years ago, when Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party was president, the mainland, which was the host country at that time, merely faxed a "notice" rather than invitation to Taiwan, asking the island to send a representative to the meeting. Wang Yu-chi, chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, urged President Xi Jinping in February to meet Ma on the sidelines of the November gathering. Ma voiced the hope again last week. But Beijing responded coolly, fearing any such leaders' meeting at an international forum could give the impression Beijing recognised the island as an independent state. Taiwanese leaders were barred from previous Apec summits due to objections from the mainland, which regards the island as part of its territory. Taiwan was represented by senior economic advisers or business leaders. But Lien Chan, vice-president from 1996 to 2000, represented Taiwan at the 2008 Apec meeting, becoming the most senior official to do so. This was seen as a reflection of warming ties between Taipei and Beijing, following the election of the mainland-friendly Ma earlier that year. Ma was re-elected in 2012. Ma's office declined to say who from Taiwan would attend November's summit. Meanwhile, Taiwanese Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun said at an Apec ministerial meeting in Beijing yesterday that cross-strait negotiations on a agreement on trade in goods would be held "somewhere near Taipei" next week, the Central News Agency reported. But the report said it still depended on a consensus between both sides' semi-official negotiators. The trade talks were originally scheduled for last month but were postponed amid the abrupt departure of former Taiwan senior mainland affairs official Chang Hsien-yao for allegedly leaking information about negotiations. But Duh denied the delay had anything to do with Chang's case, the report said, adding that Duh claimed both sides needed more time to prepare. ^ top ^

Cross-Strait negotiators meet in mainland (Xinhua)
2014-09-04
Chen Deming, president of the Chinese mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), met with his Taiwan counterpart Lin Join-sane here Thursday. Lin, chairman of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), is leading a visit by SEF directors and supervisors to the mainland. At the meeting, Chen stressed the ARATS and SEF should continue their regular talks, cherish positive exchanges between them and work to protect progress they have made so far. The two organizations should try their best to promote cross-Strait exchanges and warm up affection between people on both sides, he said. Chen welcomed the visit and expressed appreciation toward participation in the exchanges. The ARATS and SEF are entrusted to handle cross-Strait talks and have held ten rounds of talks since 2008 which produced a series of important agreements, including lifting the ban of direct shipping, air transport and postal services across the Taiwan Strait and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a comprehensive cross-Strait economic pact. ^ top ^

Pro-independence not mainstream in Taiwan (Global Times)
2014-09-04
Recently two surveys were published in Taiwan. One was conducted by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum which has run the poll on a quarterly basis since 2013. It shows 87 percent of Taiwanese identify themselves as Chinese and 60 percent believe they are both Taiwanese and Chinese. The other is a survey conducted by the United Daily News, which shows that about half of Taiwanese youngsters are willing to work in the mainland. These results have greatly differed from previous stereotypes that Taiwanese are prone to seek "Taiwan independence" and that youngsters in Taiwan always detach themselves from the mainland. Looking at the first survey, the ratio of people believing they are both Taiwanese and Chinese is 60 percent. This ratio sharply fell after the sunflower student movement in May, but has now returned to the current level. It indicates that the anti-mainland mentality caused by this student movement affected the judgment of the Taiwanese people. But the rise of the ratio shows that after the retreat of the fever of the movement, Taiwan has been back on the normal track of taking into consideration both social peace and economic development. About 34 percent of respondents believe they are Taiwanese but not Chinese. This percentage fits the impression of some scholars about some Taiwanese people's support for "Taiwan independence." It shows that "Taiwan independence" is not a mainstream opinion of the Taiwanese people. But because the Taiwanese media are inclined to report negative news and the Internet is taken up by cynical youngsters, it has caused the illusion that "Taiwan independence" is a mainstream thought. Some people claimed they are not Chinese when they are in Taiwan, while admitting they are Chinese when doing business in the mainland. […] ^ top ^

 

Economy

China to set up special IPR courts (Xinhua)
2014-08-31
China will set up special courts for intellectual property rights (IPR) cases in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the top legislature has decided. Members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted the resolution through a vote at the bi-monthly legislative session that closed here Sunday. The courts will focus largely on civil and administrative lawsuits regarding patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs and technological knowledge. In a report to legislators about the draft this week, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, said IPR cases play an important part in advancing the country's technical innovation and economic development, and they require more skilled judges and more professional trials. The IPR courts will also handle appellate cases regarding other IPR-related matters, such as copyright and trademark disputes, in these three cities. Appeals against the verdicts of the IPR courts will be heard in local higher people's courts. Presidents, vice presidents and chief judges of these courts will be appointed by local legislatures. In the report, Zhou also said procedural rules, evidence rules and litigation preservation measures will be improved to provide better IPR protection, and the courts will establish a professional forensic investigation system to determine technical facts. ^ top ^

Microsoft CEO faces deadline in China's anti-monopoly probe (SCMP)
2014-09-02
Satya Nadella could face his stiffest test yet as Microsoft's chief executive when he visits the mainland later this month amid efforts by the world's largest software company to resolve its anti-monopoly issues in the country. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) yesterday posted on its website a notice giving Microsoft 20 days to provide a written explanation concerning the company's operations. Microsoft was also asked to respond to compatibility and other issues with its Windows and Office software reported by mainland enterprises. The administration said its special investigation group issued that deadline for full disclosure to a team led by Microsoft vice-president David Chen Shi during its anti-monopoly inquiry yesterday. In July, investigators swooped on Microsoft's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu to gather documents and other data. SAIC said at the time that Microsoft was suspected of violating the country's anti-monopoly law since last year after mainland enterprises complained about compatibility, bundling and document authentication issues with its popular software products. In a statement released yesterday, Microsoft said: "We're serious about complying with China's laws and committed to addressing SAIC's questions and concerns." Industry analysts expected Nadella, who was named Microsoft chief executive in February, to take the lead in clearing up the company's issues on the mainland, the world's second-biggest economy. But Microsoft has not commented on Nadella's itinerary during his mainland trip. "The Microsoft chief executive should work on better government relations in China," Gartner research analyst Sandy Shen said, noting the ban on the installation of the Windows 8 operating system on government-owned computers. […] Keso Hong Bo, founder of mainland technology website DoNews and seasoned observer of the internet industry, said the anti-monopoly probe against Microsoft had come too late. "Why didn't the government investigate Microsoft when Windows dominated the market? Today, more people are moving to operating systems developed by Google and Apple," he said. ^ top ^

Number of visitors to China drops (China Daily)
2014-09-05
The number of foreign tourists to China is falling and creating a tourist-spending deficit, the China National Tourism Administration has said. One of the country's most popular destinations for foreign visitors, Beijing, received 2.36 million overseas visitors in the first seven months of 2014, a decrease of 5.9 percent year-on-year. Chinese tourists spent $47 billion more overseas than the amount spent by foreign visitors in China in the first six months of this year, which means China has the largest tourism trade deficit, according to a report by the China Tourism Academy. "Governments of member units need to exploit more tourism resources such as those located in second- and third-tier cities for attracting more foreign visitors," said Shao Qiwei, director of the China National Tourism Administration. Judith Heinrich, product manager from German online travel agency trip.me, agreed. "The hot destinations in China contain more small cities like Guilin (in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region) and counties in Tibet," she said. She said clients always had difficulty in communication due to the language barrier in China, especially in small towns. She also noticed many Germans declined favorable offers to visit China, citing the pollution and the appreciation of the yuan as the main reasons. Margot Jereza, manager of a travel agency in Anchorage, Alaska, said the weak global economy is another major factor affecting inbound tourism in Alaska. "But we have confidence in Chinese tourism market because of its history and natural resources," she said. On Thursday, the first World Tourism Cities Federation Expo opened in Beijing, attended by 240 travel agencies both from China and abroad, with the aim of boosting inbound and outbound tourism in China. During the two-day trade fair, these travel agencies will have face-to-face talks to explore the opportunities with Chinese counterparts to expand the tourism market in China. ^ top ^

Apple supplier based in China accused of labour violations by US watchdogs (SCMP)
2014-09-05
A Chinese electronic firm that supplies parts to Apple is being accused of repeated labour violations by two US-based watchdogs who investigated it twice in the past two years – exposing continued problems in Apple's supply chain ahead of its much-anticipated iPhone 6 launch. In a report released on Thursday night, China Labour Watch and Green America said they found a raft of malpractices that contravene Apple's 2005 code of conduct for suppliers, Chinese law as well as the corporate social responsibility rules of the factory's Taiwanese owner, Catcher Technology. An “investigator” who posed as one of 20,000 workers at the factory in Suqian, Jiangsu province, found that workers had to do 100 hours of overtime a month – three times the legal limit of 36 hours – and that minors as young as 16 were forced to work the same hours as adults. Its workshops, which had nearly round-the-clock operations, also did not have adequate ventilation, according to the report. Employees were also sent to the floor without health or safety training and in some cases no protective equipment, leaving them exposed to toxic chemicals that irritated their skin and eyes. Supervisors would fraudulently sign certificates proving the employee had received training, even if it was non-existent. CLW also noted with alarm how supervisors would leave fire exit doors and windows locked in a factory that is filled with flammable aluminium-magnesium alloy dust and scraps. The accumulation of aluminium dust was blamed for an explosion in another Jiangsu factory, Taiwanese-backed Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products in Kunshan, in early August which left 23 workers dead. Workers at the Suqian plant earn a base salary of 1,570 yuan (HK$1,974), but this could go up to 3,200 yuan a month due to overtime and other payments, including a fee for having to work in a high-temperature room. Apple said in a statement sent to the Post that it already dispatched a team to the Catcher plant to investigate the allegations in the 25-page report co-authored by CLW and Green America. “Our most recent annual audit in May found some concrete areas for improvement in Catcher's operations, and we worked with Catcher to develop a corrective action plan. We had scheduled a follow-up visit next month to review their progress,” Apple said. The Suqian facility is mostly known for making the aluminium enclosures for Apple's MacBook, and iPad, as well as various components for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Sony and other major international brands. […] ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea
DPRK fires short-range projectile into eastern waters (Global Times)
2014-09-01
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday fired one short-range projectile into its east waters, Yonhap News Agency reported. One Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) official was quoted as saying the DPRK launched one short-range rocket from a site in Chagang Province, just 60 km south of the border between the DPRK and China, at about 10:30 a.m. local time. The projectile, which flew some 220 km, was presumed to have landed in the DPRK's eastern waters. It marked the first time for the DPRK to fire a short-range project in the province. This time again, Pyongyang failed to issue a no-fly, no- navigation warning before the launch, endangering civilian ships and airplanes possibly flying through the trajectory. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

President Ts. Elbegdorj: Productive people are Mongolia's wealth (English news.mn)
2014-09-02
President Ts.Elbegdorj hosted a TV lesson with the theme of “Productive Education –Productive Society” on the first day of the new school year, September 1st. The TV class was broadcast on Mongolian National Public Radio and television (MNB) nationwide, celebrating the new school year. This is the sixth year that President Ts.Elbegdorj has hosted a TV lesson for school children on September 1st as President of Mongolia. The TV lesson was attended by Minister of Education and Science L.Gantumur, 4-b class from the Ireedui Complex School in Songinokhairkhan district with teacher B.Uyanga, 4-b class from the 12th Secondary School with teacher D.Oyuntsetseg, and other primary school teachers who helped launch a new education program in 2013-2014. President Ts.Elbegdorj said in the lesson for secondary school children that productive people are Mongolia's wealth and society's wealth is knowledge. ^ top ^

President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj welcomes the Russian President V.V.Putin at Chinggis Square, Ulaanbaatar (infomongolia)
2014-09-03
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj welcomed the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin at Chinggis Square, who is paying a one-day working visit to Mongolia on September 03, 2014. At the official welcoming ceremony, the state flags of the two countries were hoisted, where the guards of honor were formed and the anthems of Mongolia and the Russian Federation were sounded. After greeting public and officials, the Heads of State of Mongolia and Russia paid tribute to the Monument of Chinggis Khaan and President V.V.Putin left a note on the Guest Book in the Government House. The working visit program of the Russian President started with one-to-one meeting with his counterpart and bilateral talks at broad ranges by the two Government representatives were held. This is the third official visit of the Russian President to Mongolia. Vladimir Putin paid his first official visit to Mongolia in 2000, when he was serving as the President of Russia and nine years later V.V.Putin conducted an official visit to Mongolia at the Russia's Prime Minister-level. During this visit, Russia and Mongolia plan to sign on 15 documents, where a deal on the strategic partnership and modernization of the Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC is expected to be concluded between the Russian Railways JSC and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation of Mongolia. Today, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Mongolia headed by Minister S.V.Lavrov and Minister L.Bold signed an agreement on reciprocal visa-free travel, which would be effective from January 01, 2015. ^ top ^

Intergovernmental documents signed between the Russian Federation and Mongolia (infomongolia)
2014-09-04
Following the one-to-one meeting that took place at the State Affairs Ger Palace, President of Mongolia Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin held official talks in the Government House on September 03, 2014. After which, Government representatives of the two countries have signed on 15 intergovernmental documents, where President Ts.Elbegdorj and President V.V.Putin attended the signing ceremony and noted that these documents are big steps forward for boosting bilateral relations and partnership. [...] ^ top ^

Gazprom and CNPC will decided whether the gas pipeline to run through Mongolia or not, says Minister S.Donskoy (infomongolia)
2014-09-04
According to ITAR-TASS press releases from September 03, 2014, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj proposed Russia to consider a possibility of stretching a natural gas pipeline between Russia and China via Mongolian territory. In conjunction, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy, who was accompanying the President V.Putin to Mongolia, said, “Russia's Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will need to decide whether their gas pipeline will run through Mongolia or not. This issue will have to be discussed at the level of Gazprom and CNPC. As a buyer, the CNPC should make assessments, raise questions and put forth demands. Mongolia will have to answer these questions. Moreover, Mongolia's proposal could be attractive since the pipeline will run mainly across the plains and therefore will need fewer booster stations. But problems may arise if the pipeline crosses nature reserves in Mongolia. Although, this issue had been under discussion since the autumn of 2013”. In addition, during his working visit in Mongolia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted, “Rosneft meets most of the country's oil product demand, supplies Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar and has major plans for expanding its presence on the Mongolian market”. ^ 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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