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
  13-19.9.14, No. 542  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Bilateral Issues - Switzerland

Chinese suspect in jewelry thefts arrested in Switzerland (China Daily)
2014-09-16
A Chinese jewelry theft suspect accused of stealing millions of dollars' worth of diamonds across the world has been arrested in Switzerland during another heist, Interpol said on Friday. Chinese citizen Jianguo Meng, 46, is linked to more than a dozen thefts since 2012, including that of a diamond ring worth $1.5 million from Bahrain last year, and was subject to an Interpol Red Notice, the international police organization said. "Meng and an accomplice were arrested in Zurich when a jewelry store employee recognized him from the industry alert and called police," it said in a statement. He now faces extradition to Bahrain. According to Interpol, Meng is suspected of carrying out thefts in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Malaysia, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and always operated in tandem with another individual. "In each case, two suspects entered the store and asked to be shown a selection of high-end diamond rings," the statement said. "When a number of rings were out on the counter or table, the suspects would distract the salesperson by asking for directions or a business card, and then steal one of the rings when the vendor turned away." Interpol said it was investigating at least two Chinese organized criminal groups operating in a similar manner to Meng. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

China, ASEAN police team up to fight terrorism (Xinhua)
2014-09-13
Police in China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are teaming up to fight terrorism and transnational crimes, said sources attending a security forum here Saturday. Fighting terrorism was one of the major topics at the two-day forum, which closed Saturday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Li Wei, vice minister of public security in China. He said it is crucial for police authorities in China and ASEAN to work together to maintain regional security. Terrorist attacks targeting China and ASEAN have risen from 146 in 2003 to 575 in 2012, according to the Global Terrorism Database. "It's noteworthy that terrorists nowadays are not just targeting police and government," said Zhu Lin, associate professor with the institute of China's armed police forces. "Many attacks in recent years have targeted ordinary people, foreign tourists included." The wide use of information technology has also made it easy for terrorists and other transnational criminals to hijack information without revealing their own identities, said Zhu. "It's therefore crucial to set up long-term cooperation mechanisms. By sharing information and increasing exchanges, it will enable police to stop terrorism and other crimes," Zhu said. More than 120 representatives from China and the 10 ASEAN members attended the forum. ^ top ^

Beijing favors supportive role against IS (Global Times)
2014-09-15
On September 10, US President Barack Obama delivered […] Washington must rally wide international support before the strikes begin, and China's stance matters. On Thursday's press conference, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded cautiously to Obama's call for a broad coalition, saying international cooperation is badly needed to fight terrorism, but the sovereignty of individual countries must be respected. Most Western media outlets have interpreted Beijing's position as a positive one, albeit ambiguously stated. According to The Washington Post, during a recent visit to China, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice asked China to help respond to the growing forces of the IS, and an anonymous US senior official was quoted saying "the Chinese expressed interest." It can be concluded that Beijing has given the green light to Washington's military action. The US could rest assured, if it is committed to its promises to fight the IS without attaching other strings to the deal, that China won't challenge the legitimacy of this Washington-led alliance. China will probably vote yes when Washington decides to send the airstrike proposal for the UN approval. But there is still a public debate about what role China can play in this action. Some people even just go straight to one end, raising a question about whether China will deploy military forces to engage in a direct confrontation with the IS. These voices, most of which come from Western media, lay down several reasons why China must play a bigger role in this action. They claim that China, as the biggest crude oil importing state of Iraq, bears the most significant interests in this area. Too much focus on short-term economic data has misled some international analysts from the big picture. Although bogged down in the mire of war, the US remains the biggest beneficiary and stakeholder in the entire landscape of the Middle East it has been creating. For instance, the security of Israel, a country which was built and has been developing with the US aid, is Washington's priority in terms of the regional security. As for the US economy, keeping a dominant influence on Iraq is like driving a wedge into this area, and Washington can keep a firm hand on the oil pricing power, a crucial element that determines the stability of the US economy. What's more, like holding a dumbbell, the US knows that effective control of the Middle East, the most reliable oil provider, will impose enough pressures on Europe and East Asia. Since it is unlikely to directly engage in military confrontation with the IS, China will provide support to the US-led coalition in several aspects. Beijing will reach an agreement with the rest of these governments by cutting off the source of funding of the IS, such as refusing to purchase oil produced by the fields under IS control. If China decides to send personnel to the war zone, the focus would be set on training public security personnel and riot police, instead of joining in military combats. It is said that Obama will convene a meeting next week in New York, calling for the US' international partners to combat the IS militants. So far, it is still unknown how the coalition will work and what kind of role each member should play. Whether China will participate in the meeting also remains to be seen. ^ top ^

China calls for comprehensive settlement of Iranian nuclear issue (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
A Chinese envoy called here Monday on all relevant parties to adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach so as to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue in the next phase of negotiations. Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, made the appeal at a Security Council meeting on the latest work of 1737 Committee, which is tasked with monitoring a set of sanctions against Iran established by Resolution 1737 and subsequent Council resolutions. "China has always attached great importance to the work of the Committee and will continue to actively participate in the work of the Committee," Wang told the meeting. "We hope the Committee will continue to fulfill its mandate in a pragmatic, steady and balanced manner." Noting that relevant Council resolutions should be fully and accurately implemented, he stressed that "the sanctions are only a means, not an end in themselves nor the criteria to measure the work of the Committee." "In the current circumstances, both the Committee and the Security Council should work towards finding a diplomatic solution, " he added. Citing the positive changes in the Iranian nuclear issue since the beginning of this year, the Chinese envoy said that the next stage of negotiations is crucial to whether a comprehensive agreement can be reached as scheduled. Iran and the P5+1 group -- the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany -- agreed on July 19 to extend their talks until Nov. 24 as disagreements remained over Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity, its Arak heavy water reactor and the sanctions. "We hope that all the parties adopt a flexible and practical attitude, meet each other half way, and eventually reach a fair, balanced, mutually beneficial and win-win comprehensive agreement, " Wang said. He went on to say that the Iranian nuclear issue bears on the maintenance of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. "In the new circumstances, China stands ready to work together with all parties and actively promote the negotiations, so as to make new contribution to the a comprehensive settlement to the issue," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese president pledges to share development opportunities with Maldives (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged here Monday to share development opportunities with the Maldives. "We will share China's development opportunities with the international community through win-win cooperation in pursuit of common development," Xi said when meeting with Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, speaker of the People's Majlis, the unicameral legislative body of the Maldives. China will support the Maldives' push for economic and social development as the island country, with its geographic advantages and natural resources, is developing the maritime sector and tourism to improve the people's living conditions, said the Chinese president. Xi arrived in Male on Sunday for a state visit to the Maldives at the invitation of his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. On Monday morning, the two presidents held talks and agreed to establish a future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between their two countries. Briefing Maseeh on the presidents' talks, Xi said China and the Maldives will expand cooperation in trade, tourism, infrastructure construction and the maritime sector, to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Xi said he hopes the legislatures of the two countries will increase interactions and play a positive role in enhancing the bilateral relationship. Maseeh said China understands what the Maldives really needs on the path of development, and has been pushing ahead with some major projects and provided the island countries with invaluable support and assistance. Hailing China as a faithful friend and reliable partner, Maseeh said the Maldives will learn from China's development experience and boost cooperation with China. Maseeh said the Maldivian People's Majlis is willing to maintain friendly exchanges with the Chinese National People's Congress to contribute to the bilateral relationship. On Monday, Xi also met with former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is also president of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). Xi said he appreciates Gayoom's contribution to the relationship between China and the Maldives and hopes the former president will continue to contribute to the bilateral ties with his influence. Xi, also general-secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the CPC is willing to maintain the momentum of exchanges and cooperation with the PPM. Recalling his two visits to China, Gayoom said he is happy to witness the continuous development of the Maldives-China relationship as well as the deepening friendship between the people of the two countries. Gayoom pledged he and the PPM party will keep working to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. It was the first visit of a Chinese president to the Maldives since diplomatic relations were established 42 years ago. The Maldives is the second leg of Xi's ongoing four-country Asia trip, which will also take him to Sri Lanka and India. ^ top ^

Xinhua Insight: China, ASEAN discuss new Maritime Silk Road (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
The coast of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was once crammed with Chinese merchant ships ready to carry ceramics and silk to the Malay Peninsula, Myanmar and India. National and business leaders from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered in regional capital Nanning on Tuesday to discuss how to reestablish this ancient maritime route. The four-day expo has attracted over 2,300 companies from China and the ASEAN. Addressing the opening ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli called for China and ASEAN member countries to join hands to build a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, referring to the initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zhang said this is a road for win-win cooperation based on common development and prosperity. It is also one of peace and friendship based on deeper mutual understanding, trust and stronger all-round exchanges, he said, promising that it will develop "new areas for economic growth." The vice premier also proposed the two sides to strengthen the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, enhance maritime cooperation and increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges. BACKED BY LEADERS China's proposals were welcomed by leaders from ASEAN countries along the route. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was looking forward to working closely with China to thrash out the details. Singapore has benefited from Asian growth, especially trade with China. Trade between the two countries grew to 92 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, more than 20 times that of 1990. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said he wants to see closer cooperation between the ASEAN and China as the country's trade, commerce and prosperity depend heavily on maritime connectivity. As the world economic recovery dawdles, leaders are hoping that the Maritime Silk Road will facilitate economic integration and help Asian nations resist downward pressures. Asia has remained a resilient growth engine and a significant part of this growth can be attributed to China's dynamism and regional integration, Lee said. Lee expressed hope that momentum can be sustained despite regional frictions, not letting "disputes overshadow the positives of ASEAN-China cooperation." POTENTIALS China and the ASEAN countries have labelled the past 10 years the "Golden Decade" for their relations and have coined the term "Diamond Decade" for the next 10 years, which they hope will feature more practical cooperation and regional economic integration. China is the ASEAN's largest trade partner, while the ASEAN ranks as China's third-largest. Their bilateral trade amounted to 443.61 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, around 5.7 times that of 2003. The two sides are determined to push this figure to 500 billion U.S. dollars by 2015 and one trillion U.S. dollars by 2020. Zhang Gaoli said that China will import more than 10 trillion U.S. dollars' worth of goods in the next five years and that its direct outbound investment will surpass 500 billion U.S. dollars. "The sustained and sound growth of the Chinese economy will continue to drive the world economy and bring benefits to people of ASEAN countries," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese, Sri Lankan presidents agree to deepen strategic cooperative partnership (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed here Tuesday to strengthen the two countries' strategic cooperative partnership, and announced the launch of the negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). At their meeting, the two heads of state also vowed to jointly work out a blueprint for the further development of bilateral cooperation and friendship. Xi stressed China will stick to the path of peaceful development and uphold the guidelines of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in its neighborhood diplomacy. China and Sri Lanka are friends and partners of mutual trust and interdependence, he said, adding that bilateral relations have withstood the test of time and the volatility of the international situation, and become a model of friendly coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different sizes. China firmly supports Sri Lanka's efforts to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the Sri Lankan people's choice of development path according to its national conditions, Xi said. Currently the Chinese people are making all efforts to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, while Sri Lanka is pursuing the "Mahinda Vision", which envisages ambitious economic growth through the scaling-up of investment and increased productivity, Xi noted. He stressed that China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to seize such opportunities to make a good planning for bilateral cooperation and enhance the strategic cooperative partnership, which is in the fundamental interest of the two peoples. The initiative of building the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road presents many opportunities for China to enhance cooperation with Sri Lanka in such areas as port construction and operation, maritime economy and security, and the construction of a maritime transportation center in the Indian Ocean. […] ^ top ^

Sino-Indian cooperation is invaluable (Global Times)
2014-09-17
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in India for a state visit Wednesday. This is the first time a Chinese president has traveled to India in the last eight years and Xi is the first leader of a major power to make the trip after the new Indian leadership assumed office. His first stop is in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, in western India, on Modi's 64th birthday. Modi will welcome Xi in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat. This is viewed as a starting point for the two state leaders to develop a personal friendship. When Modi visited Japan early this month, floods of rhetoric such as "joining hands to counter China," emanated from Japanese public opinion, to which Modi gave a rational response at the time. Now it seems that this mentality from many Japanese is very wide of the mark. New Delhi is committed to an independent foreign policy and it is a behemoth even Washington can hardly mobilize willfully, let alone Tokyo. This reflects India's diplomatic wisdom, in which its huge interests play a decisive role. Friendly Sino-Indian cooperation is of enormous strategic value for India and such a relationship can in no way be replaced by its bilateral ties with any other country. The geopolitical significance of the benign development of Beijing-New Delhi ties can't be duplicated. The friendship between these two big neighbors will constitute a fundamental condition for other diplomatic endeavors, especially true for India today. The better China-India relations develop, the more advantages and initiatives India can have when dealing with the US and Japan. China has been regarded as their biggest rival by the US and Japan, who instinctively try to rope in China's neighbors to their cause. A positive New Delhi-Beijing engagement would force Washington and Tokyo to cozy up to India. On the global strategic chessboard, Japan and India wield nearly the same influence. In contrast to Japan's openly hostile policy toward China, India follows a cooperative principle with China. Therefore, Japan has to seek the favor of India, not the other way around. In fact, the value diplomacy advocated by Tokyo is rather nonsensical and no country that Japan prefers would be stupid enough to follow it. China has a long-term strategy to develop friendly cooperation with India, rather than seeking short-term gain. For us, the Sino-Indian relationship, with its own strategic merits, doesn't have to be associated with ties with other major powers. Rationality and vision dictate the development of bilateral ties. Both China and India are continent-sized countries but have embarked on different paths and developed different advantages. We need to discover more of the common interests between the two countries which will have a stunning purchasing power upon humanity's future. ^ top ^

Chinese hackers targeted US military contractors, claims senate committee (SCMP)
2014-09-18
Chinese-backed hackers infiltrated the computer networks of airline, shipping and information technology companies responsible for transporting personnel and weapons for the US military, a Senate committee claims. There were 20 such breaches between June 2012 and May 2013, giving the hackers insight into military logistics and a foothold that could be used to disrupt operations, according to a report yesterday by the Senate Armed Services Committee. While public attention has focused on the hacking of companies like JPMorgan Chase and Home Depot, the US Defence Department confronts persistent digital incursions aimed at stealing military secrets and potentially disrupting vital computer networks. Private airlines provide more than 90 per cent of Defence Department personnel movement and more than one-third of bulk cargo capability. "Peacetime cyber compromises of the networks of operationally critical contractors could prove valuable to foreign governments as a source of intelligence about network operations or to establish a foothold in contractor networks, either of which could be exploited in a contingency," the committee said. The Defence Department said it took the findings "very seriously". "This is a very high priority for the department," it said. The report didn't identify the companies that were breached or reveal whether any information was stolen. Hacking risks are growing and top the list of global threats, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate's committee in January. There were 50 successful intrusions or other types of attacks targeting contractors of the Transportation Command during the one-year period reviewed by the Senate committee. At least 20 were said to be hackers from the Chinese government. Transportation Command was made aware of only two of the Chinese attacks - "a troubling finding given the potential impact of cyber intrusions on defence information and operations," the committee wrote. Chinese military doctrine advocated targeting logistics networks to hinder the Pentagon's ability to operate during conflict, the committee claimed. The report identified systematic problems in the command's awareness of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the sharing of information between agencies. ^ top ^

China refutes U.S. hacking charges (Xinhua)
2014-09-18
China on Thursday said the hacking charges in a U.S. Senate report were groundless, and urged the U.S. side to stop such "irresponsible assaults and accusations". "The accusation is groundless and ill-founded," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a daily briefing, referring to the report declassified by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. The report blamed the Chinese government for backing hackers who broke into computer networks of U.S. companies, however, it did not provide any detailed evidence. "China forbids any actions that may sabotage cyber security including hacking, and deals with such crime severely," Hong said, adding that neither the government nor armed forces will support hacking. He urged the U.S. side to stop large-scale, systematic cyber attacks on other countries, and to do something helpful for the cyber peace and security. ^ top ^

Police cooperate to help extradite Chinese fugitives (China Daily)
2014-09-18
More than 200 cross-border criminal cases have been solved through police cooperation between China and Europe since the beginning of last year, the Ministry of Public Security said on Wednesday. Some of those cases involve drug trafficking, cigarette smuggling and fraud via telecommunications, Xu Naigang, deputy director of the ministry's international cooperation bureau, said at the China-EU Conference on Law Enforcement Cooperation and Police Training in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Many Chinese suspects have fled to Europe in recent years due to a lack of extradition treaties with some countries and obstacles in legal procedures. Fugitives accused of crimes in China pose security threats to their destination countries, said Li Dong, deputy director of the ministry's economic crimes investigation bureau. "As China and the EU are faced with security challenges, we are looking forward to strengthened initiatives," said Lars Gronvald, head of the development and cooperation section of the EU delegation. "The EU is looking forward to further engagements between the two sides in policy dialogue and police training in fighting against cross-border crimes, including cooperating in capturing and repatriating the fugitives," he said. In recent years, progress has been made between the two sides in strengthening cooperation in law enforcement. According to the Ministry of Public Security, China has signed extradition agreements with several EU countries, including Spain and Portugal. Meanwhile, Chinese judicial organs have established cooperation mechanisms with their counterparts in some EU countries, such as the UK, France, Germany and Italy. They agreed to meet once a year to discuss major concerns, such as attacking cross-border crimes, or hunting and extraditing fugitives. But Xu said China still faces practical challenges to bring more fugitives back to stand trial. "It is unlikely the extradition treaties between China and some European countries will be signed soon due to their misunderstanding of the Chinese legal system and doubts over the fairness of criminal prosecutions," he said. Hong Daode, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said, "Although China doesn't have extradition treaties with some EU countries, we will bring fugitives back under the framework of bilateral judicial assistance or reciprocity treaties." ^ top ^

Xi announces new aid for combating Ebola (Xinhua)
2014-09-18
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced here Thursday an aid package of 200 million yuan (about 32.54 million U.S. dollars) for West African countries to combat Ebola, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The aid will include cash, food and materials, announced Xi who is on a state visit to India, adding that his country will also provide the World Health Organization with 2 million dollars in cash and give the African Union the same amount. The spreading of Ebola in West Africa has been a severe challenge for the international community, including China and India, Xi said. The new aid is aimed at helping Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea and other countries fight Ebola, enhancing epidemic prevention capability of surrounding countries and supporting regional organizations concerned to play a leading and coordinating role in fighting the epidemic, he noted. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday that a 59-member Chinese laboratory team was dispatched to help Sierra Leone improve lab testing as part of the fight against Ebola. Previously, China had sent medical supplies and 115 medical experts to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. ^ top ^

'We don't want another pilot killed': Chinese admiral vows to continue intercepting US planes (SCMP)
2014-09-18
China's top naval commander has vowed to keep intercepting US spy planes but said China doesn't want a repeat of the 2001 mid-air collision incident which left a Chinese pilot dead. Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA Navy and a member of the Central Military Commission, said that as long as the US continues reconnaissance flights near Chinese territory or waters, China will not stop blocking and intercepting spy planes. “It's become routine for the US to conduct close-in surveillance of China and I don't see the end of these activities. The US won't be the US if they stop doing it,” Wu told top US naval officials at an international forum in Newport, Rhode Island, according to the Global Times. “But China's countermeasures won't end either.” Wu said that China “does not want to sacrifice a second Wang Wei,” referring to the pilot of a PLA Navy fighter jet who died when his aircraft collided mid-air with a US spy plane around 100 miles from Hainan island on April 1, 2001. The collision sparked a major diplomatic incident between China and the US after the spy plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan and the 24 crew members were detained and interrogated by Chinese authorities. The crew was released after US ambassador Joseph Prueher delivered a letter expressing “regret and sorrow” for the role of the US in the incident. The admiral's remarks come under a month after a Chinese jet allegedly buzzed a US plane in the South China Sea. “On August 19, an armed Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft that was on a routine mission,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. The jet reportedly flew within six metres of the US plane and did a barrel roll. Wu denied that the incident took place, saying that “two photos can't prove anything.” China has accused the US of fuelling tensions in the South China Sea and has rejected a US proposal for a multilateral deal which would seek to end provocative actions in the region. Beijing claims almost the entire area and is locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other neighbouring states. ^ top ^

Beijing wary of Scottish vote's impact on Taiwan, Tibet, even Hong Kong (SCMP)
2014-09-19
Beijing is closely watching and assessing the impact of Scotland's referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. There has been no official comment, although the public have shown some curiosity. Media reports have been mostly factual, with some saying the vote could boost pro-independence movements that might cause Europe to disintegrate. Stephen Notman, a Scot who works in the whisky trade in China and who returned home to vote, said some of his Chinese friends were comparing Scotland to developments in Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet. They also wondered whether Chinese people would need a separate visa. Another Scot in Beijing, Stephen Nashef, an English teacher, said some of his Chinese friends regarded the referendum as "strange and weird". "I suppose Britain is considered a powerful and successful country. Many people here might find it strange that some [members of the country] want to break it up," he said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said he would not comment because it was another country's internal affairs. But Premier Li Keqiang told British Prime Minister David Cameron when visiting London in June that China wanted to see a "strong, prosperous and united United Kingdom". Observers said the issue was tricky for Beijing because it could encourage discussion of whether the "people's choice" should decide the fate of Taiwan, Tibet and even Hong Kong. "From the Chinese official perspective, the People's Republic of China has never been kind to the idea of such referendums for Taiwan or anywhere else within what's considered Chinese territory," said Dali Yang, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Titus Chen Chih-chieh, a professor of international relations at National Chengchi University in Taiwan, said the implications for Hong Kong and Taiwan were a serious concern. "The mainland obviously does not want to see how the Scottish decide their fate to be an example for Taiwan and Hong Kong," he said. On Monday, an editorial in the Global Times, published under the People's Daily, said Cameron's decision two years ago to approve the referendum was "too imprudent and he will become a 'sinner' of the United Kingdom if Scotland gains independence". "If national self-determination has become a paramount principle overwhelming everything else, Europe will constantly break up into smaller and smaller fractions, which will run counter to European integration," it said. Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said independence would require Beijing to adjust trade ties with Britain and divert economic cooperation to Scotland. China's direct investment has increased in Scotland and has mainly involved the acquisition of mineral resources and energy, figures from the Scottish government show. State-owned PetroChina invested US$1.015 billion in 2011 in a joint venture operating oil refineries in Scotland and France. Su Hao, a professor with China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said China would follow if the United Kingdom recognised the independence of Scotland, but that did not mean China recognised the legitimacy of such referendums. ^ top ^

China keen to make contribution to Middle East peace process: envoy (Xinhua)
2014-09-19
China's special envoy on Middle East affairs Gong Xiaosheng said on Thursday that China is keen to promote cooperation with the Arab countries and make positive contributions to the peace process and development in the region. Gong made the remarks when meeting with Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour in Amman, which is the third leg of his regional tour that took him to Palestine and Israel. The Chinese envoy said he chose to visit Jordan as a reiteration of the Kingdom's key role in support of peace and stability in the Middle East. The envoy, who used to be director of the Chinese Office in Palestine, ambassador to Jordan and Turkey respectively, said the situation in the Middle East is complicated and China is keen to exert the efforts needed to find a political solution to all issues in the region. Gong also said China's support to the Palestinian issue is solid and has not changed, adding that Beijing, despite the developments in the Middle East, still believes that the Palestinian issue remains at the core of the conflict in the region. On his part, Abdullah Ensour praised the profound relations between Jordan and China, calling for a bigger Chinese role in the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. Ensour valued China's stance in supporting Arab causes, especially the Palestinian cause, while expressing the hope that China would contribute to finding a just and comprehensive solution to the prolonged Palestinian imbroglio. ^ top ^

Business beats border dispute as Chinese and Indian leaders go face to face (SCMP)
2014-09-19
China and India signed a series of big business deals yesterday as President Xi Jinping wrapped up talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that were overshadowed by a border dispute. Beijing pledged to invest US$20 billion over the next five years and build high-speed railways in India. But no agreements were reached on the decades-long border dispute. Officials said soldiers on both sides were in a stand-off on the Ladakh plateau in the western Himalayas. "I have raised our serious concern over repeated incidents along the border," Modi said following his talks with Xi. "We agreed that peace and tranquillity in the border region constitute an essential foundation for mutual trust and confidence and for realising the full potential of our relationship." Earlier, Modi had urged a "clarification" of the Line of Actual Control - which marks where the border war between the two nations ended in 1962. Xi played down the tensions. "Since the border has yet to be demarcated, sometimes there might be certain incidents. But the two sides are fully capable of acting promptly and effectively to manage the situation through various levels of the border-related mechanism," he said. A solution fair and acceptable to both nations should be achieved through negotiation, Xinhua quoted Xi as saying in his talks with Modi. Indian media reported 1,000 Chinese soldiers had crossed into Indian territory in Ladakh's Chumar region, where India has 1,500 soldiers posted. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the situation was under control. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Top justice promises judicial transparency, predictability for investment (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
China's top justice on Tuesday said the country will deepen reforms in its judicial sector to ensure an open, transparent and predictable judicial environment for investments. Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), made the remarks at the China-ASEAN Justice Forum attended by judicial representatives from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Zhou said China has made efforts to reform its judicial system, advance legal consistency, enhance intellectual property right protection and promote judicial transparency to improve the judicial conditions for investment. Also, he said the SPC is willing to conduct further exchanges and closer cooperation with judiciary circles in ASEAN countries. ^ top ^

Beijing police detain writer Huang Zerong, or Tieliu, 81 (SCMP)
2014-09-16
A well-known 81-year-old writer was taken from his Beijing home and detained by police, his wife said yesterday, adding that he had written several articles critical of a senior politician recently. Police took away Huang Zerong, better known as Tieliu, on Sunday and issued a notice later that he had been detained on the vague charge of causing trouble, his wife, Ren Hengfang, said. She said the police also detained Huang's medical caregiver on the same charge on the same day. There was no explanation of why the caregiver was detained. Police also took books, journals and a computer, Ren said. Beijing police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Huang's wife said he recently wrote several articles criticising Liu Yunshan, a member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee and the Communist Party's propaganda chief, for tightening controls over the news media. Ren said the articles appeared on overseas websites. The country's leadership has become less tolerant of criticism, with the authorities increasingly using coercion and detentions to suppress dissent. Huang's detention probably makes him "China's oldest suspect for 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble'," Liu Xiaoyuan, a rights lawyer and friend of Huang, wrote in a tweet on Sunday night. Huang was denounced as a "rightist" during Mao Zedong's crackdown on liberals after the Hundred Flowers Campaign in the late 1950s, in which the party chairman briefly tolerated criticism but then purged those who spoke up. The journalist from Sichuan, then in his twenties, served 23 years in a re-education through labour camp. The Communist Party cleared his name in 1980. ^ top ^

Survey shows 10 problems of Chinese society (China Daily)
2014-09-17
Twenty-four percent has cited the credibility deficit of the government as a main reason behind the lack of trust in Chinese society, according to a survey conducted by People's Tribune, a magazine of People's Daily. The survey finds more than 80 percent of respondents think of Chinese society as "sub-healthy" and 40.4 percent believe that a crisis of credibility is sickening society. The "symptoms" are, in order, distrust in "whatever the government says", "distrust between people', "doubt over food and medicine safety" and distrust in "doctors' professional ethics". A lack of faith is the most recognized problem in the survey. When asked to choose which group suffers the most from the symptom, more than half of the respondents chose government officials. In a report of the People's tribute, the choice was referred to a recent case of the self-styled "qigong master" Wang Lin, who claimed to have supernatural powers. He has been put under the spotlight after his photos with many government officials and celebrities were published online last summer. The superstition in officialdom mirrors corruption in the government, the report said. In terms of the reason behind the loss of faith, some 50 percent of citizens cited "unethical behaviors have gone unpunished", while 20.8 percent blame the "mercenary" market economy. Extreme, violent and anti-social behaviors have been chosen by nearly one third of the citizens as another major illness of society, with the "disadvantaged groups" as the most obvious example. "The growing social inequality and feeling of deprivation" have been cited as the main causes. The full list of responses of the survey: 1 Lack of faith, 2 "Bystander attitude" or being indifferent, 3 Anxiety over work, life and future, 4 Habitual distrust, 5 Ostentatiousness, 6 Reveling in scandals, 7 Hedonism, 8 Extreme, violent and anti-social behaviors, 9 Addiction to the Internet, 10 Masochism, complaints about the Party and state system. ^ top ^

China's anti-graft drive contributes to human rights protection: experts (Xinhua)
2014-09-18
Human rights experts from China and abroad believe that China's sweeping anti-corruption campaign has contributed to the protection of human rights. The two-day Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened Wednesday as more than 100 officials and experts from 30 countries and regions meet to discuss progress in human rights protection in China. The concepts of corruption and human rights seem unrelated, but the two are closely connected, said Peru's vice minister of Justice and Human Rights Henry Jose Avila. "Corruption could limit or in other cases deny the exercise of human rights, especially the most vulnerable groups of society," he said. "Therefore, the anti-corruption fight is part of the government's efforts to safeguarding human rights." The view was shared by Chinese scholars. Professor Li Yunlong with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China said corruption is the abuse of power to seek personal gain with the result of violating human rights. When a judge accepts a bribe, judicial justice could be harmed, thereby violating the right to fair trial, Li said, adding the anti-graft drive contributes to human rights protection. "The Chinese government plays a dominaant role in state administration and corruption will have huge impact on the public. Therefore, the anti-graft drive has a profound significance in protecting human rights," said Chang Jian, deputy director of the human rights study center at Nankai University. The forum is co-organized by the China Society for Human Rights Studies, the largest human rights academic group in China, and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, a major civil group. The annual event was first held in 2008 and has grown to be a key platform for human rights exchanges among different countries, ethnicities and cultures. ^ top ^

Enhancing rule of law will spur growth, vitality in Chinese economy (Global Times)
2014-09-18
The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee is to open in October and will focus on pushing forward the rule of law on all fronts. The Global Times is talking to experts to see what signal the ruling party's latest summit may send out that will impact the economic and business sectors. Advancing the rule of law, the central theme of the upcoming Fourth Plenum, will help propel reforms to the Chinese economy, which will play a decisive role for markets, analysts have said. "The market economy is especially a law-governed economy, and therefore efforts to be made in improving legal and institutional frameworks that would clearly define the code of conduct for various government bodies to avoid undue government involvement in economic activities are a must," Xu Hongcai, director of the Department of Information under the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a Beijing-based think tank, told the Global Times. Premier Li Keqiang said during his speech at the Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin on September 10 that items that are not found on the list of statutory government powers would not be allowed, while those not appearing on the negative list of areas off-limits to businesses would be seen as permissible. "Only by doing so can we put in place open and transparent systematic arrangements with stable expectations and spur vitality of enterprises to the full extent," the premier said. Also speaking at a panel discussion during the forum, Li Daokui, a former advisor to the country's central bank, noted an important document that outlines major alterations to China's legal system is expected to come out shortly, which will have a significant impact on the nation's business environment. In a sign that improvements are already being made in the legal environment, the nation's top legislature greenlit a series of amendments to the budget law at the end of August, which stipulates a more open public access to and oversight of governments' budgets, and lays out the legal framework for the local governments to issue bonds. The clarification of State budget receipts and payments is a vital part of the nation's legalization efforts, said Xu. The government's push for reforms of the administrative review and approval system, which over the past year has seen clear progress, also indicates there is progress in renovating the wider legal environment, James Z. Li, chairman and CEO of E. J. McKay & Co, Inc, an independent investment banking firm in Shanghai, told the Global Times. Li expects that alongside the advance of the rule of law, a more business-friendly climate could be built as a reservoir for vitality and innovation of businesses of all sizes and sectors. ^ top ^

 

 

Beijing

Beijing to tighten foreign hiring requirements (China Daily)
2014-09-15
Beijing municipal authorities issued a decree on Sunday to further tighten foreign hiring requirements in the capital city, The Beijing News reported Monday. The decree jointly released by Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, Foreign affairs office of Beijing and Beijing Municipal Commission of Education aims to improve the threshold for foreign workers. Foreign employees in Beijing should be aged between 18 and 60, with a bachelor's or higher degree and at least two years of related work experience, the decree said. If with no diplomas, foreign employees working for key, high-end technology research must have foreign technical qualifications. Foreign workers to be employed after Oct 3 to teach languages in pre-primary education institutes, schools and private education institutes should have Chinese teacher certificates or International language teaching qualifications, include Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and The Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT). Those who teach disciplines other than language studies should have at least five years of related working experience. Also, all foreign employees should be healthy and have no criminal record. They need to have a valid passport or other international travel documents, a work permit issued by Chinese human resources and social security officials, and a residence certificate. For those who work for Beijing's talent programs that boost the city's innovation capability, such as the Thousand Talents Program, the age limit is extended to 65 or older. Currently about 37,000 foreign staff work in Beijing permanently, and they mainly come from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Australia, engaging in information technology, computer, education and consultation business. Chinese police, together with human resources and social security officials, will keep an eye on foreign employees, and those who can't meet the above requirements will be punished along with their employers and people or agencies who introduced the job, added the decree. The Beijing News reporters found English teachers in the city's major language training institutions, such as New Oriental and EF, are required to have teaching certificates such as TEFL, and working experience. But some smaller institutes don't have such requirements. ^ top ^

Beijing forms city's own media watchdog to run after 'immoral' journalists (SCMP)
2014-09-18
The Beijing municipal government has set up a committee to crack down on “immoral” media practices after recent graft scandals resulted in the detention of top mainland journalists. The media ethics commission – comprising newspaper executives and reporters, media academics and spokespeople of government departments – was formed to place “more emphasis on ethics in the media industry of the city”, the Beijing Times reported. The commission, overseen by the municipal propaganda department, will supervise all employees from government-approved media outlets based in the capital. Any malpractices, including false reporting, paid hack pieces and vulgar advertisements can be reported to the commission, the report said. ”Tightening supervision and self-regulation of the media industry is part of the central government's efforts [to push forward the] rule of law and fight corruption … and to build a good media image to the public,” Zhai Huisheng, the Communist Party secretary of the China Journalists' Association was quoted as saying during its first meeting yesterday, the Times reported. The commission has also set up a hotline to receive tips on any media malpractices. The decision to set up the commission was announced days after editor-in-chief and employees of 21cbh.com, a leading financial news portal, as well as executives of two public relations firms appeared on state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), confessing to extorting hundreds of thousands of yuan from companies planning stock market listings. Eight people, including 21cbh.com's editor-in-chief, were detained by police two weeks ago. CCTV itself has been hit by a graft scandal. Several employees, including an executive and presenter from CCTV's financial channel, have been taken away by anti-graft investigators since June. These recent cases have raised heated debate over the prevalence of corruption in media on the mainland, where political news is tightly censored but financial news – which may be prone to graft – is given relatively more latitude. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Thousands protest against trash incinerator in Guangdong (China Daily)
2014-09-14
Thousands of people took to the streets of a southern Chinese town on Saturday to protest a proposed garbage incinerating plant, participants and eyewitnesses said. The demonstration in Guangdong province's Boluo county was the latest to highlight how Chinese have become increasingly wary of the environmental hazards of such projects. "I am worried about the impact it may have on the water source," said a local resident who gave only his family name, Chen. "Burning will definitely cause air pollution. We are concerned about the health of our children." The demonstration came several months after a massive protest over a proposed waste incinerator in the eastern city of Hangzhou. China's cities are challenged with the daunting task of properly disposing of huge amounts of trash generated by the country's growing and increasingly affluent urban population. Experts and government officials believe high-standard incinerators can be a feasible solution to ensure public sanitation. Yet members of the Chinese public are not ready to accept government proposals for trash incinerators despite repeated assurances that such projects will have minimal environmental impact. In the public notice posted on its official microblogging account, the Boluo county government said it would "further gather reasonable and lawful suggestions and opinions from the public" and would "pick the project site scientifically and in accordance of the law." Photos provided by eyewitnesses and those circulating in China's social media showed protesters holding up banners opposing the incinerator as they marched through Luoyang's streets, despite periodical rain showers. The protesters said the crowds also shouted slogans such as "Protect the homeland"' and "Refuse trash." ^ top ^

At least five more people detained over Huizhou incinerator protest (SCMP)
2014-09-15
At least five people were detained by police on Sunday in Huizhou in Guangdong for allegedly spreading false information online to "incite" protests against a waste incinerator project. The detentions follow demonstrations on the weekend that saw thousands take to the streets in Boluo county demanding the authorities scrap the project, which would process 2,600 tonnes of rubbish a day. The public consultation process ended yesterday. Since Saturday, the local public security bureau had taken away 32 people for investigation on suspicion of spreading rumours or disturbing public order and causing trouble. Twenty-one remained in detention. Several local residents said they received messages saying the municipal government had approved a peaceful demonstration for this coming Saturday. But the county's authorities released a brief statement on Sunday night denying it had given such permission. Many local residents said they would take to the streets on Saturday, no matter what the authorities' position was. "We are not afraid of being detained. If we don't stand up to fight, it will be too late to save our community," resident Li Wei said. According to county authorities, the location of the incinerator had not been decided, and the party chief of the county was scheduled to meet today with representatives of the residents to hear their feedback and appeals about the garbage incinerating plan. Some internet users have called for demonstrations to spread to other cities in the Pearl River Delta, including Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hong Kong. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Foreign military attaches invited to Tibet (China Daily)
2014-09-13
China's Ministry of National Defense has invited foreign military attache couples for a tour of Tibet from Friday, according to a ministry statement. A total of 96 military attaches and their spouses from 46 countries are taking the trip and will visit the cities of Xining, Lhasa and Chongqing. The visitors will be briefed about military construction in Tibet and shown around a military brigade with the Tibet Military command and the Logistical Engineering University of the PLA. They will visit a Tibetan pharmaceutical factory, homes of Tibetans and local scenic spots, according to the statement. The visit is aimed to enhance the attaches' knowledge and understanding of the lives of the people of Tibet and promote cooperation between Chinese and foreign militaries. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

500 officials, experts sent to aid Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2014-09-16
Chinese central authorities and state-controlled enterprises on Tuesday dispatched a 522-strong group including officials, teachers and medical workers to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to support its development. This is the latest such group to travel to the northwestern Chinese region since the central government launched this program in 1997. More than 3,500 officials and experts from 19 relatively prosperous provinces and municipalities arrived earlier this year. More than 70 percent of the new batch are university graduates, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. It said these people have contributed to economic and social development, safeguarding social stability. More than half of Xinjiang's population are ethnic minorities, and the region lags behind other provinces and faces challenges in capital, technology, skills and management. ^ top ^

Kashgar opens online channel for terrorism tip-offs (China Daily)
2014-09-16
Xinjiang's Kashgar has launched an online platform for the public to report terrorist activity. People can also pass the information to public security authorities through instant message apps like WeChat and QQ, Kashgar authorities said on Tuesday. They promised to give informants up to 100,000 yuan ($16,000). There will also be rewards for tip-offs about online content relating to terrorism. A senior local police officer said the move is aimed at mobilizing the public as a key force in the fight against terrorism. ^ top ^

Uygur academic Ilham Tohti 'in quite good spirits' despite jail privations (SCMP)
2014-09-17
An ethnic Uygur academic has been kept in shackles and refused warm clothing ahead of his trial in Xinjiang, his lawyer said, in a case that has drawn concern over judicial and human rights abuses. Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who championed the rights of Xinjiang's Muslim Uygurs, is due to go on trial on separatism charges today in the regional capital, Urumqi. Tohti was detained in January and is charged with promoting Xinjiang's independence from China. His arrest is seen as part of a broader crackdown on what the government says is violence carried out by Islamist militants and separatists there. "He said he is still in leg irons. Urumqi is already cold, but he is still wearing short sleeves and he has fallen ill. He has not been given the clothes his family sent to him," Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping said after meeting him on Monday. "Given the situation, his spirits are actually quite good." Prosecutors have denied a request to have the trial moved from Urumqi to Beijing, where Tohti lived, worked and operated a Uygur-language website, Li said. The treatment of Tohti in custody also violated the country's laws, he added. Several of Tohti's students, who had worked on the website, have also been detained. "They won't even give him access to photos sent by his family," Li said. "After a month they say they are still evaluating the pictures. They are worried that there are secret codes in the pictures." The court could not be reached for comment. Activists say the government's repressive policies, including controls on Islam, have provoked unrest that has pitted Uygurs against the mainland's ethnic Han majority. Beijing denies that. It says militant groups in neighbouring south and central Asian countries are promoting separatism and violence on the mainland, although it has offered little evidence and experts have questioned the extent of the links. Tohti, who taught at Beijing's Minzu University, has said he never associated with any terrorist organisation or foreign-based group and has "relied only on pen and paper to diplomatically request" human rights and legal rights for Uygurs. ^ top ^

Two-day trial ends for Uygur academic (China Daily)
2014-09-18
The two-day trial of Ilham Tohti, a Uygur economics professor at Beijing's Minzu University who was indicted on a charge of separatism and accused of being involved in secession activities, has ended in a court in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The court did not say when a verdict will be announced. Tohti's family appointed two lawyers to defend him at the trial, which started on Wednesday and was conducted in Mandarin instead of Uyghur at Tohti's request, according to the court. Tohti's wife was present at the trial, during which the court was heavily guarded and sealed off by police. Tohti's case was turned over to the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court by prosecutors at the end of July after police in Urumqi said there was conclusive evidence linking Tohti to secessionist activities in January. Tohti used a website he set up, "UighurOnline", to spread rumors and separatist thought, as well as to misrepresent events to instigate ethnic hatred and calls for "Xinjiang independence", the Urumqi Public Security Bureau said in a statement January. He also told students that "Uygurs need to use violence to protest", according to the statement, adding that he called those who have carried out terrorist attacks "heroes" and instigated students to hate and even "overthrow" the government. Police said Tohti used his status as a teacher to draw or lure people to form a group connected with key members of the overseas East Turkestan Islamic Movement that is listed as a terrorist group and sanctioned by the United Nations. Tohti's group also helped to organize and send people abroad to carry out separatist activities, police said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Beijing's 2017 reform plan has 'won support of Hongkongers': Zhang Dejiang (SCMP)
2014-09-16
Beijing's rules for Hong Kong's next chief executive election have "won support and endorsement among the people of Hong Kong", China's top legislator and third-ranking official Zhang Dejiang said yesterday. The comments by Zhang, the chairman of the national legislature, contrast with the results of a South China Morning Post poll that found nearly half of Hongkongers want lawmakers to veto an election model that complies with Beijing's rules. Zhang was speaking for the first time since the National People's Congress Standing Committee said only two or three candidates - each with support from half of a 1,200-strong nominating committee - would be allowed to run in the 2017 poll, Hong Kong's first under universal suffrage. His words came as Beijing's ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming, slammed the "rankest hypocrisy" of people such as Hong Kong's last colonial governor, Chris Patten, who criticised China for not giving the city democracy after Britain did nothing to encourage it. Zhang told a delegation from the Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions at a meeting in the capital that the Standing Committee had made its decision "very solemnly after listening to opinions from different sectors in Hong Kong" and after "serious discussions and studies". It complied with the Basic Law, fitted Hong Kong's situation and showed the central government's sincerity about advancing democracy "in an orderly and gradual manner", he said. "Therefore, this decision, as I understand, has obtained support and endorsement among the general residents of Hong Kong." The Post's poll of about 1,000 residents found that 48 per cent wanted lawmakers to veto the official proposal for the 2017 election if it followed Beijing's conditions. Almost 40 per cent said the Legislative Council should pass Beijing's framework. Pan-democratic lawmakers have vowed to veto electoral reforms if the government's proposals stick to Beijing's framework. But after a closed-door session with Zhang, FTU lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin quoted the NPC chairman as saying that he remained "optimistic" the government's proposals would be approved in the Legislative Council. Zhang is expected to meet the New People's Party in Beijing on Friday before joining President Xi Jinping in a high-level meeting on Monday, with a delegation of Hong Kong tycoons and business figures led by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Liu, in a strongly worded article published in The Telegraph on Monday, criticised former colonial governor Patten for expressing "anachronistic and unhelpful" views on Hong Kong's political reform. Patten earlier condemned the Standing Committee's decision as a "denial" of democracy, and called for London to stand up to Beijing. The ambassador countered: "For more than a century and a half, Britain had total responsibility for the territory and did nothing to encourage or produce democracy. It is therefore the rankest hypocrisy of people such as Lord Patten to criticise China for any perceived failings to introduce democracy." ^ top ^

Foreign ministry hails 'historic' reform (SCMP)
2014-09-16
Allowing Hong Kong to elect its leader by universal suffrage in 2017 would be "historic progress" - and no "unbiased" person would disagree, Beijing's Foreign Ministry said ahead of a United Nations meeting on the city's democratic development. The remarks by a spokesman for the ministry's commissioner in Hong Kong were Beijing's first response to the news that an October 23 meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee was set to discuss Hong Kong affairs. "I believe any unbiased person would agree that it is historic progress in Hong Kong's democratic development to implement universal suffrage for the chief executive in accordance with the Basic Law and the [National People's Congress Standing Committee] decision," the spokesman said. The spokesman described the meeting as a "routine arrangement", but one scholar said the comment could reflect concerns the UN body might again raise the issue of whether Beijing's model for democracy in Hong Kong represented "universal and equal suffrage". The NPC Standing Committee ruled last month that the city's first one person, one vote election for chief executive in 2017 could feature only two or three candidates who must win majority support from a 1,200-strong nominating committee. That body will be based on the election committee that chose past chief executives. Most of its members are likely to be elected by a few hundred thousand individual and corporate voters. "The [UN committee] has been [critical] about corporate voting … [and] I expect them to comment on the limitations in the nominating committee, as well as how there are international standards for universal [and equal] voting," said Professor Michael DeGolyer, a Baptist University political scientist. The UN body, made up of 18 independent experts, monitors how signatories comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In a report last year, the committee urged Beijing to give all Hongkongers the right to vote and to stand for election without unreasonable limitations. Meanwhile in Beijing, New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office chief Wang Guangya had told her that central government officials "had been in contact with pan-democrats in private" over reform. Pan-democrats had said last week that they would not hold further discussions and would veto any reform package based on Beijing's rules. Wang understood the need for a "way out" of the impasse over political reform, Ip said. Her party's delegation would meet a "state leader", Ip said, but she declined to say whether it would be NPC chairman Zhang Dejiang. A delegation from the Federation of Trade Unions could meet Zhang today. ^ top ^

China dismisses comments by last governor of Hong Kong (China Daily)
2014-09-17
China has backed its envoy's remarks on Hong Kong's political reform, after China's ambassador to Britain criticised the last colonial governor of Hong Kong in a British newspaper. "Britain has never made any arrangement on Hong Kong's political system, let alone gave the Hong Kong people the opportunity for universal suffrage, in more than 150 years of colonial rule," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing. "This is a very basic historical fact pointed out by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming in his article," Hong said, referring to a letter to the Daily Telegraph newspaper. The letter came after Chris Patten, Hong Kong's last governor before Britain returned its sovereignty to China in 1997, wrote a piece for The Financial Times, that China's top legislature's decision on electoral reform in the region is "denial" of democracy and means the Hong Kong people "lack the ability to choose who governs them". Chinese National People' s Congress (NPC) has decided that the election of a chief executive for Hong Kong in 2017 shall be implemented by universal suffrage. Hong reiterated that China's top legislature's decision complies with the policy of "One Country, Two Systems," the region's basic law and its realities and is conducive to prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has not, as Lord Patten appears to believe, been bequeathed democracy by Britain. For more than a century and a half, Britain had total responsibility for the territory - and did nothing to encourage or produce democracy. It is therefore the rankest hypocrisy of people such as Lord Patten to criticise China for any perceived failings to introduce democracy, Liu wrote in his letter to the Daily Telegraph. ^ top ^

What can you do for Hong Kong? Tycoons to sketch future for Xi Jinping (SCMP)
2014-09-19
Some of the Hong Kong tycoons meeting President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week have been invited to speak on the city's future amid the brewing storm over electoral reform. The "delegation of personalities from Hong Kong's commercial, industrial and professional sectors" will also attend a seminar on Hong Kong's constitutional development. They are expected to be given a high-profile reception by Xi, just days before the Occupy Central sit-in and the start of a second round of consultation on the city's political reform. "Some of the tycoons have been invited to share their views in the session with Xi on how they plan to contribute to Hong Kong's economic development and maintain its prosperity and stability," a person familiar with the arrangement said. Tung Chee-hwa, the former chief executive, now a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is to lead the delegation. The delegation, at least 40 strong, will arrive in the capital on Sunday. Some tycoons will take private jets instead of the group flight due to security concerns. On Monday morning they will attend a seminar on political reform held by the National Development and Reform Commission. They will meet Xi in the Great Hall of the People in the afternoon and attend a dinner hosted by National People's Congress Standing Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang. Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing, Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee and his elder son Peter Lee Ka-kit, New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun, Ian Fok Chun-wan, son of the late Henry Fok Ying-tung, and HSBC chief executive Peter Wong Tung-shun are among those invited. Spokesmen for The Wharf (Holdings) chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching, CLP Holdings chairman Michael Kadoorie, and former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen have confirmed their attendance. Asia Financial Holdings chairman Robin Chan Yau-hing is also going, according to his younger son, executive councillor Bernard Chan. Hopewell Holdings chairman Gordon Wu Ying-sheung has been invited but is unable to go. The trip has drawn keen interest from the business sector, including local members of the CPPCC Standing Committee, most of whom have been invited. Chairmen of major business chambers and professional bodies are also in the delegation. "The invitation from Beijing reflects the state leaders' concern for the city. It comes as the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect programme is launching soon," said Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, the lawmaker who represents the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. "The state's focus is not just on political reform but also on more collaboration on economic development." Political commentator James Sung Lap-kung of City University said the aim was to unite business leaders before Occupy Central. "I think the Beijing leaders want to get the tycoons to understand why they are going tough on the Occupy protesters." The last time state leaders met a delegation of the city's business elite was in 2003, when president Hu Jintao met about 80 business leaders, calling on them to support Tung in the wake of the Sars outbreak and a July 1 protest that drew 500,000. ^ top ^

 

Macau

State Council appoints Chui Sai On as Macao chief executive (Xinhua)
2014-09-17
China's State Council, or Cabinet, on Wednesday appointed Chui Sai On as chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR). Chui was elected the fourth-term chief executive-designate of the Macao SAR on Aug. 31 as the sole candidate of the election. His five-year tenure will start from Dec. 20, 2014, according to a State Council meeting presided over by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwanese fighter jets land on highway in 'China attack' war games (SCMP)
2014-09-16
Taiwan displayed how its fighter jets and early-warning aircraft could land, refuel and take off on a closed motorway yesterday in a scenario simulating a mainland attack that wiped out the island's air force bases. The exercise, the first of its kind since 2011, was a reminder of lingering mainland hostilities towards the island despite warming ties between the two rivals. "The scenario of the drill was that the air bases were severely damaged after intensive bombings of ballistic and cruise missiles by the Chinese communists," Major General Hung Kuang-min said. Three jet fighters, an F-16, a Mirage 2000-5 and a home-made Indigenous Defence Fighter, practised landing on a freeway in southern Chiayi county, where they refuelled and loaded missiles and other ammunition before taking off again. The armed F-16 jet took off after it was loaded with AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and the Indigenous Defence Fighter and the Mirage fighter did the same after they were loaded with AIM-9P4 Sidewinder missiles and MICA air-to-air missiles, the Central News Agency cited the Air Force as saying. The manoeuvres were the first to feature an E-2K, a US-made early warning aircraft. About 1,200 soldiers were mobilised for the drill, part of war games codenamed "Han Kuang 30" which were designed to evaluate the island's ability to defend itself against a mainland invasion. Ties between Taiwan and the mainland have improved markedly since 2008 after Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party came to power on a platform of increasing tourism and trade links. He was re-elected in 2012. But Beijing still refuses to renounce its use of force against Taiwan should the island declare formal independence. Taiwan and the mainland split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. ^ top ^

 

Economy

BOC becomes RMB clearing bank in Paris (Xinhua)
2014-09-15
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, announced on Monday that it had authorized the Bank of China (BOC) as a clearing bank for RMB business in Paris. The PBOC made the decision in accordance with an MOU signed with the French central bank La Banque de France to help turn the city into an offshore RMB center. Paris becomes a competitor to become the offshore RMB center in Europe after Frankfurt and London. BOC became the RMB clearing bank in Frankfurt in June while China Construction Bank was authorized to be the RMB clearing bank in London. The PBOC is yet to announce the RMB clearing bank in Luxembourg. A BOC spokesman said the mechanism of RMB clearing business in Paris will help Chinese and French companies and financial institutions to use the yuan for cross-border transactions and facilitate the free trade and investment between the two countries. BOC has so far opened more than 1,200 inter-bank RMB clearing accounts and 1.7 million RMB accounts for corporate and individual clients overseas. The bank almost doubled its RMB payment and clearing business from a year ago to 112 trillion yuan (18.23 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first half of this year, BOC data showed. Its Paris Branch handled more than 1.3 trillion yuan of RMB clearing business last year. ^ top ^

Chinese premier stresses importance of quality (Global Times)
2014-09-15
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday stressed the importance of quality in economic development and upgrading. Quality reflects a country's strength and is the key to upgrading China's economy, Li said at a conference in Beijing. The premier urged the whole nation to focus on raising the quality and efficiency of economic growth and boosting the quality of products and services. Li highlighted the role of companies, saying all companies should take responsibility for increasing the quality of their products and services. All sectors and industries must accelerate innovation, eliminate low-end products, improve quality management systems, and pay more attention to detail, he added. The premier said the government should accelerate transformation of its functions and work to create a fair market which encourages firms to make high-quality products. Law making also should be sped up and a better national standardization system established, Li said. ^ top ^

China's outward investment surges as growth pattern shows significant shift (SCMP)
2014-09-16
China's outward direct investment (ODI) more than doubled year on year to US$12.62 billion last month, while foreign investment inflows slumped to a four-year low, marking a huge shift in the growth pattern of the world's second-largest economy. President Xi Jinping is expected to sign major investment agreements when he begins a state visit to India today, with the deals estimated by some to be worth as much as US$100 billion. Earlier this year, Chinese leaders were accompanied by huge business delegations during visits to South Korea and Britain. Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said yesterday such estimates of the value of deals to be signed in India might be "wishful thinking", but observers still expect major deals to be announced, with Asia's largest and thirdlargest economies keen to bolster trade and investment ties. China is hoping to diversify its US$4 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves by investing abroad, while at home its economic growth has suffered from a serious property market downturn, and industrial output has grown at the slowest rate since the global financial crisis. Foreign investors have expressed concern about a worsening business climate after Beijing launched anti-monopoly probes into companies including Microsoft, Qualcomm and Toyota. Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 14 per cent year on year last month to US$7.2 billion, following July's 17 per cent decline. In the first eight months of the year, FDI dropped 1.8 per cent, with investment from major trade partners slumping between 9.7 per cent and 43.3 per cent. Japan saw the biggest drop. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the new European Union ambassador to China, said at his first press briefing in Beijing yesterday that China should focus on procedural transparency, making sure investigations were conducted in a fair and objective manner. "It would not really make much sense to scare away foreign investors and foreign economic actors" considering China's need to transition to a more balanced economy with the market playing a decisive role, he said. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had written to Beijing warning about the serious implications the antitrust probes might have for Sino-US relations. Shen said he had heard of the letter, but reiterated that the investigations were aimed at promoting fair competition. He denied any links between declining FDI and the antitrust probes, saying the slowing trend was more due to a sluggish global economic recovery, rising labour costs and increased exchange rate volatility. Shen said FDI might reach US$120 billion this year, up 2 per cent from last year. Outward direct investment might continue to grow at a pace similar to the 15 per cent recorded in the first eight months of the year, and to exceed foreign direct investment by next year, Shen said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK urges Seoul to halt "balloon operation," show sincerity for north-south dialogue (Xinhua)
2014-09-13
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) urged South Korea to stop spreading leaflets of religious propaganda via balloons across the borderline and to evince sincerity to initiate north-south talks, the official news agency reported Saturday. "It is the most hostile action that impedes the improvement of north-south relations to disperse those leaflets through which malicious slander on the DPRK social system runs," a spokesperson for the DPRK delegation to the high-level north-south contact was quoted as saying. "The scattering of leaflets is the most undisguised practice of the psychological warfare, a gross violation of the national agreement, an open confrontation with the DPRK and an action to provoke a war against it," the spokesperson said. Since August this year, a huge number of such balloons float over the demarcation line between the north and south and land on the DPRK side, said the KCNA, calling this the "balloon operation." Sometimes even on one single day, there were allegedly 1.2 million leaflets and 2,250 ill-intentioned religious brochures that had been scattered to the DPRK in this way. As regards improving north-south ties, the DPRK called for sincere practical actions instead of empty words and deceptive wordplays. In contrast to "trust building" rhetoric underscored by Seoul, South Korean authorities always take a fool of the Korean nation and behave hypocritically, the KCNA report said. The DPRK side aksed Seoul to halt such "anti-DPRK psychological warfare" as the "balloon operation" at once while stressing the door to north-south dialogue is always open as long as such confrontational moves are stopped. ^ top ^

DPRK releases human rights report (Xinhua)
2014-09-13
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has released a human rights report on its own by the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies, in a move to frustrate anti-DPRK human rights campaigns, said the official KCNA news agency on Saturday. "It (the report) reflects the characteristics of the socialist system of the DPRK, its human rights policy and actual human rights performance," the KCNA quoted a spokesman for the association as saying. The report, composed in collaboration with domestic institutions, non-governmental organizations, experts and the citizens, was issued to help the outside to better understand the DPRK's human rights policy and smash anti-DPRK human rights campaigns by hostile forces, said the KCNA. "What the DPRK has opposed is the human rights dialog which was used by some states as a means to realize their vicious political purposes such as interference in others' internal affairs and act to topple governments," it said. The report also clarifies the DPRK's stances on international cooperation for the protection and promotion of human rights. On Aug. 18, DPRK Foreign Minister spokesperson rejected U.S. State Secretary John Kerry's remarks on its human rights situation during a speech in Hawaii, saying the country will not tolerate any attempt to subvert its social system by using human rights as an excuse. In a report released in February, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK raised widespread concerns over abuses of human rights in the country. The DPRK rejected the report and said in early August that it would soon issue a report of human rights to show a true picture of living conditions of the DPRK people. ^ top ^

North Korea gives American with 'wild ambition' to experience prison six years of hard labour (SCMP)
2014-09-14
North Korea's Supreme Court has sentenced a 24-year-old American man to six years of hard labour for entering the country illegally and trying to commit espionage. At a trial that lasted about 90 minutes, the court said Matthew Miller, of Bakersfield, California, tore up his tourist visa at Pyongyang's airport upon arrival on April 10 and admitted to having the "wild ambition" of experiencing prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea's human rights situation. Miller, who waived the right to a lawyer, was handcuffed and led away after his sentencing. The court ruled that it would not hear any appeals to its decision. Earlier, it had been believed that Miller had sought asylum when he entered North Korea. During the trial, however, the prosecution argued that it was a ruse and that Miller also falsely claimed to have secret information about the US military in South Korea on his iPad and iPod. Miller is one of three Americans now held in North Korea. A trial is expected soon for Jeffrey Fowle, who entered the North as a tourist but was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a provincial club. The third American, Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, is serving out a 15-year sentence for alleged "hostile acts". All three have appealed to the US government to send a senior statesman to Pyongyang to intervene on their behalf. During a brief interview in Pyongyang last week, Miller said he had written a letter to US President Barack Obama but had not received a reply. Fowle, a 56-year-old equipment operator for the city of Moraine in Ohio, said his wife, a hair stylist from Russia, made a written appeal on his behalf to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said the Russian government responded that it was watching the situation. The US has repeatedly offered to send its envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Robert King, to Pyongyang to seek the freedom of the detainees, but without success. Former US president Bill Clinton went in 2009 to free a couple of jailed journalists. Jimmy Carter made the trip in 2010 to secure the release of Aijalon Gomes, who had been sentenced to eight years of hard labour for illegally crossing into the country to do missionary work. Miller's trial was held a day after North Korea published a 53,000-word rebuttal of the "distorted views" put forward in a report by a special UN human rights commission six months ago - which listed violations so severe as to amount to crimes against humanity. The paper compiled by the North's Association for Human Rights Studies insisted that its people enjoyed "genuine human rights" and that "serious misunderstandings" had arisen because of fabricated reports originating from hostile nations. In its report issued in February, the UN Commission on Inquiry into the North's rights record detailed a wide range of systemic abuses including murder, enslavement and torture. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

D.Terbishdagva attends WEF's 'Summer Davos' (UB Post Mongolia)
2014-09-14
Mongolian Deputy Minister D.Terbishdagva joined hundreds of business and research leaders in the Chinese city of Tianjin for the annual World Economic Forum meeting known as 'Summer Davos', held from September 10 to 12. D.Terbishdagva spoke to the attendees and said, “According to a World Bank study, Mongolia moved from socialist society organization to a multi-party democratic system with high economic growth. The mining sector is developing intensively and currently makes up 20 percent of Mongolia's GDP, which is two times more than it has in the last ten years. “Economic growth was 6.4 percent in 2010, 12.5 percent in 2013, and from 2013-2017 double-digit growth is expected to continue. The Mongolian population's education, poverty and macroeconomic indicators, such as budget incomes and expenditures, have seen positive results. “Even though Mongolia's current economy is based on agriculture, in recent years, the industrial and mining sectors are intensively developing. Diversification in economic development, in industries like agriculture, mining, and telecommunication, should be a good foundation for sustainable development. Therefore, Mongolia is paying special attention to keeping up the rate of development, creating more resources and diversifying economic development. “Though 2014 has been a very challenging year for us, we have preliminary estimates that suggest Mongolia will keep double-digit growth and increase economic growth by 11 percent. Moreover, economists see Mongolia's economy as the one that will be rapidly increasing. Mongolia's business environment has improved by four places in international rankings and its corruption index is now 11, but we will work towards bigger goals in the future.” ^ top ^

Necessary steps and deficiency in governance (UB Post Mongolia)
2014-09-14
Mongolia recently hosted high-level visits from our two neighboring countries. In terms of significance and timing, there was a lot to swallow and digest as the presidents of Mongolia's eternal neighbors visited us with a short window of time between the two visits. President Xi Jinping's visit and the speech he gave will be important in addressing the lack of trust that has defined Sino-Mongolian relations. Transit transport access and the use of China's seaports were made available to Mongolia. […] President Putin's half-day visit and the speech he gave will be important in removing the lack of understanding that has defined Russian-Mongolian relations. Resolving long-awaited issues such as restoring visa-free travel, adding another track to the railway, and introducing a railway electrification system will supposedly bring quality improvements to both economies and trade turnover between Mongolia and Russia. […] The major challenge after the two high-level visits is whether our government can implement everything that what was discussed and agreed upon. The governments of our two neighbors are steady, high-performing institutions with strong, focused leadership. The institution of our government can be described as low-performing and less efficient because the institutional structure is completely changed and entire government staff is almost fully replaced every four years after parliamentary elections. As the structure of our government and management system are changed for the interests of political parties rather than national interests, it has become nearly impossible to devise Mongolia's long-term development policy and implement the mid- and short-term actions that have been planned. […] The shortcut to making those institutions stronger and more professional is to seek assistance from our “third neighbors”. Our ministries and agencies should strongly establish their structure using international standards, while laws should be made so that the structure cannot be changed so frequently. Also, it ought to be ensured that ministries and agencies align their operations in the most efficient way. Otherwise, we will never overcome this governance deficiency. […] The ministers need to be technocrats who have foreign language skills, proper education and knowledge. If the huge projects agreed upon with our two neighbors start before these measures are taken, the current conflicts of interest will only deepen and it will become more difficult to resolve them. Ultimately, it will negatively affect our relations with China and Russia. ^ top ^

Mongolia and North Korea to collaborate in science and technological spheres (infomongolia)
2014-09-16
Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia and the State Commission for Science and Technology of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have signed a "Memorandum of Understanding in Science and Technological Cooperation" at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang city of North Korea on September 11, 2014. Representing the Government of Mongolia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the DPRK M.Ganbold and Vice Chairman of the State Commission for Science and Technology of Korea Jang Ryong-hyog have inked the document, where the Embassy staff and officials of the Commission were also present at the signing ceremony. ^ top ^

Senior Inner Mongolia official under probe for graft (Daily China)
2014-09-17
Pan Yiyang, vice chairman of the government of north China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region was under probe for suspected discipline and law violations, the country's anti-graft body said Wednesday. Pan is also a member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) made the announcement on its official website. ^ 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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