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
  4-10.10.14, No. 544  
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Foreign Policy

US, India stir S. China Sea debate (China Daily)
2014-10-06
Observers said Washington is hyping regional tensions to draw support from India and other countries to disrupt Beijing's efforts at safeguarding its own interests. An India-US joint statement, which was issued after the bilateral meeting between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday at the White House, specifically mentioned the situation in South China Sea. The two leaders reportedly expressed concern about "rising tensions over maritime territorial disputes" in the region. Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said: "The resolution of the South China Sea issue lies in joint efforts from China and related regional countries. The more intervention from other outside forces, the more complicated the situation will become." "The irresponsible US remarks that smeared China have already caused panic among regional countries," Li said. For India, the South China Sea has become a waterway of strategic significance along with New Delhi's "Look East" policy and its booming trade with Northeast and Southeast Asian countries, said Hu Shisheng, a South Asia studies scholar at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. "India is establishing its status as an 'Indo-Pacific country' through cooperation with West Pacific countries on projects such as energy and shipping, so strengthening maritime security cooperation with regional stakeholders conforms to its interest," Hu said. Ma Jun, a researcher in Indian studies at the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army, said New Delhi is unlikely to be kidnapped by Washington's agenda as it seeks balance among big countries like the US and China. "India is considered more open toward development and more vocal on regional and international issues since the new Modi administration was sworn in in May," Ma said. "Generally, New Delhi would prefer to cooperate with Beijing in areas such as economic development and enhance security ties with Washington, to maximize its interests instead of picking sides," he added. ^ top ^

China is offering, not taking a 'free ride' (Global Times)
2014-10-07
There has of late been an argument in international public discourse that China is a "free rider," implying that China only cares about reaping benefits from controversial issues without trying to play a constructive role, gaining profits from international trade without abiding by the established rules, and taking advantage of developments in international relations without shouldering its due responsibilities. Such a "free rider" remark totally distorts the facts. Take Iraq for an example. China is not the culprit responsible for what is happening in Iraq, but it has never backed down from its duty to help find peaceful and political solutions to Iraqi issues. When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, China offered 2.5 million yuan ($407,300) in humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan. Later, China reiterated its promise to provide $25 million worth of aid to Iraq. During the country's reconstruction process, Chinese enterprises helped Iraq rebuild its oil industry, as well as restore Iraq's nationwide telecommunication service. Aside from Iraq, China is sparing no effort to resolve the Afghanistan issue and ease conflict between Palestine and Israel. China's contributions can also be found in hot spots such as Syria, Iran, North Korea, as well as Sudan and South Sudan. By insisting on mediation and political dialogue, China has become an internationally recognized force, playing a peaceful, positive and constructive role in these issues. What's more, China is an active and responsible stakeholder in UN-led actions. Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has deployed the most forces to undertake international peaceful missions. In addition, China has continued to contribute to efforts to address nontraditional threats worldwide, such as combating pirates by dispatching navy to escort civilian ships in the Gulf of Aden and fighting the deadly Ebola virus by sending medical teams to western Africa. […] China has remained a consistent supporter of less developed countries. The foreign aid that China provided amounted to 89.34 billion yuan from 2010 to 2012, and China has granted zero tariff-rate quotas to 95 percent of products from the least developed countries. This proportion will increase to 97 percent in 2015, exempting these imports from taxes of 500 million yuan. China is also a generous facilitator in helping these least developed countries get access to WTO. China's overseas investment has grown sharply in recent years, with non-financial direct investment amounting to $90.17 billion in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 16.8 percent. China is now one of the big five in terms of capital export, serving as a significant factor in helping some countries and regions reenergize their economies, increase employment and improve local people's livelihoods. That is why in the US-Africa Summit earlier this year, many African leaders rebutted some groundless accusations against China, which besmirched China's generosity to Africa as selfishness designed to exploit African resources, saying instead that Chinese investments have brought real benefits to Africa. Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his State visit to Mongolia in September, said China welcomes other countries to free ride on China's development, signaling to the world that China values cooperation, and showing China's confidence, open-mindedness and sense of responsibility. […] ^ top ^

65th anniversary of Korean ties goes without mention in official mainland press (SCMP)
2014-10-07
China yesterday maintained an unusual silence on the 65th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with North Korea, which diplomats and analysts said reflected the fast deterioration of the relationship. North Korea and China established formal ties on October 6, 1949 in a close alliance described as being "forged in blood" as China fought alongside the North in the 1950-53 Korean war. No Chinese state-run newspapers reported the anniversary, nor were there reports of the event in either capital. Diplomats and analysts said the unusual silence reflected the deterioration of relations between the two formerly staunch allies. Strains in the long-standing relationship have only really shown in recent years, after Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006 and China supported UN sanctions against the North in response. "The silence on the five-yearly anniversary is unusual as it suggested the fast deterioration of relations between the two countries," said Wang Xinsheng, a North Korean affairs expert at Peking University. Wang said the anniversary was once a major event for China. China usually attaches more importance to decadal anniversaries of historic events than to those held on fifth anniversaries. Wang also said the development might also indicate political uncertainties in North Korea politics amid recent rumours that the young leader Kim Jong-un has been deposed after not being seen in public for a month. In 2004, most senior leaders including president Hu Jintao, premier Wen Jiabao and former president Jiang Zemin, then still chairman of the Central Military Commission, exchanged telegrams of congratulations on the 55th anniversary with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Benjamin Herscovitch, a research fellow at Australia's Centre for Independent Studies, said the development indicated that Sino-North Korea relations were at a crucial transition phase. Tong Zhao, an associate at the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Programme, said Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions had strained ties. "Given these practical difficulties, there is not much that China and North Korea can celebrate by throwing an extravagant party together," Zhao said. "As North Korea continues to destabilise North Asia with its nuclear programme and sabre-rattling, and shows no signs of replicating China's model of market Leninism, it is increasingly clear that Pyongyang is now, on balance, a strategic liability for Beijing," Herscovitch said. Herscovitch said Beijing was also upset by the fact that it saw little hope of Kim Jong-un ushering in such necessary reforms. Beijing has hosted six-party talks on the crisis that bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US. These have been stalled since 2008. ^ top ^

PLA joins Australia and US in elite survival training drill (SCMP)
2014-10-08
China is taking part in joint military exercises with the United States and Australia for the first time, even as it continues to raise tensions in the region by asserting its disputed claims to much of the South China Sea. Five soldiers from the US Marine Corps, 10 from the People's Liberation Army and 10 from the Australian Army are taking part in the survival training exercise known as Kowari 14, according to a statement from Australia's Department of Defence. The exercise finishes on October 25. "Exercise Kowari 14 will provide participants with an understanding of the basic principles, procedures, techniques and equipment that can enhance survival prospects in the harsh Australian environment," Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said. "The exercise demonstrates the willingness of Australia, China and the United States to work together in practical ways." China's push to assert its claims in the East and South China seas has led to confrontations with the Philippines and Vietnam and comes as President Barack Obama expands the US military's presence in the region as part of his so-called rebalance to Asia. The US has strengthened its six-decade alliance with Australia, boosting life-fire exercises and navy visits. Eventually, 2,500 marines will pass through the city of Darwin each year on six-month training deployments. The drills that began yesterday included field training and survival tests in remote inland and coastal areas, Australia's Department of Defence said. "The exercise will provide some extremely challenging situations for the participants to work through in some of the toughest terrain that Australia has to offer," exercise commander Brigadier Peter Clay said. ^ top ^

China and US to discuss joint action on Islamic State at Beijing summit (SCMP)
2014-10-08
The leaders of China and the United States will discuss how to jointly fight the terrorist group Islamic State at a summit in Beijing next month, according to analysts familiar with the situation. President Xi Jinping will discuss with his US counterpart Barack Obama possible cooperation in intelligence sharing, a crackdown on terrorism funding and blocking arms sales to terrorist organisations. Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Chinese foreign ministry initiated a meeting with the US State Department in July to discuss anti-terrorism issues. The last time the two countries held such talks was after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US in 2001. The fact that Beijing initiated the idea indicates China's increasing concern over domestic terrorist groups having links to foreign sources. Reports about Chinese nationals - mostly Uygurs - receiving training or even fighting with jihadis in the Middle East worries Chinese leaders. Cooperation on counter-terrorism was also a good way to ease suspicions between the world's two major powers, the analysts said. Xi and Obama will hold the summit on November 12, a day after the Asia Pacific Economic Forum concludes in the Chinese capital. With a full day scheduled for the summit, the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues to strengthen bilateral ties, which would shape geopolitics in the region and beyond. "Stabilising the bilateral relationship is a main goal for both countries. To achieve this goal, both sides will focus on cooperation measures that can lead to tangible results," said Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. Apart from counterterrorism, the two leaders would also discuss cooperation on climate change and containing the Ebola outbreak, Jin and Glaser said. While Obama was expected to raise the issue of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong - as part of the human rights dialogue - it would be overshadowed by other concerns, Jin said. He said Hong Kong would only be discussed in passing. "Hong Kong does not have any strategic value for the US. What is more important is the stability of the bilateral ties," he said. But Glaser said if the situation deteriorated in Hong Kong, it would take a higher priority on Obama's agenda. The discussion on counterterrorism was likely to centre on the issue of Islamic State, although it was still not clear whether China would prefer to work through a bilateral or a multilateral framework, Glaser said. He said the two countries could work together on information exchanges, and that this could involve the military and civilian intelligence agencies of both countries. […] "Cooperation on a real threat can help both of our countries. It gives us a common adversary that we can work against and something that we can work together for. That does carry the potential for improving [the bilateral] relationship," Glaser said. China has so far been unwilling to participate in the US-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Still, there are some thorny issues the two sides would have to address. The US is expected to express concern over China's claims on disputed islands in the South China Sea. Another source said the US business community was also pressing Obama to raise the issue of China's allegedly biased enforcement of antitrust laws against foreign multinationals. ^ top ^

China welcomes latest developments of DPRK-ROK ties (Xinhua)
2014-10-08
China on Wednesday welcomed the latest developments of the ties between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) after three high-ranking DPRK officials attended the closing ceremony of the Incheon Asian Games. "We have noticed the media reports," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing. He said China welcomes "the fact that the DPRK sent a high-level delegation to the closing ceremony of the Incheon Asian Games and the developments of the North-South relationship." "China always supports moves from the North and the South on the Korean peninsula to improve their ties and push ahead with reconciliation and cooperation through dialogue," said the spokesman. "We hope the two sides will go further to meet each other half way and do more things conducive to building up mutual trust and improving their relations," Hong added. Three highest-ranking DPRK officials, including Hwang Pyong So, Choe Ryong Hae and Kim Yang Gon, attended the closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games over the weekend. The three officials held talks with their ROK counterparts, including top presidential security advisor Kim Kwan-jin and Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae. The dialogue was the highest-level meeting between the two Koreas since ROK President Park Geun-hye took office in February 2013. During the meeting, the officials agreed to hold the second round of high-level talks between late October and early November.  ^ top ^

Chinese envoy Li Xiaolin and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe meet amid strained ties (SCMP)
2014-10-09
A senior Chinese official known for her close ties with President Xi Jinping briefly met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the top government spokesman in Tokyo said yesterday. Abe's meeting with Li Xiaolin, the youngest daughter of former president Li Xiannian who has known Xi since childhood, comes as the Japanese leader looks for his first summit with Xi to repair ties between China and Japan strained by territorial disputes and arguments over Japan's alleged lack of atonement for its wartime past. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Li and Abe met at a cultural event, adding that the two countries should step up cultural exchanges to improve Japan-China relations. Li, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, is also scheduled during her trip to Japan to attend a series of other events and meetings with the theme of friendship between the two countries. Abe is hoping to meet Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum's summit in Beijing next month. Abe said during a parliamentary session yesterday that China was becoming more positive about improving relations with Japan. "It's important to promote co-operation and dialogue in a wide range of fields," he said. Lian Degui, an analyst at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said China and Japan had stepped up negotiations for Xi and Abe to meet during the Apec summit. But he said there were still problems because Abe had not pledged to avoid visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which houses Japanese war criminals. The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which both countries claim, had also not been resolved, Lian said. "The key issues affecting Sino-Japanese relations have still not been tackled," he said. ^ top ^

China 'sends warning' with release of photographs of disputed South China Sea island (SCMP)
2014-10-09
China has released the first high-resolution photographs of a newly built runway on a disputed island in the South China Sea. An analyst said the aim of publishing the photographs of the airstrip at Yongxing Island, or Woody Island, was to send a warning to Vietnam and the United States that China was strengthening its military presence in the area. Beijing had also been angered by the United States announcement earlier this month that it was partially lifting its 40-year-old arms embargo on Vietnam, analysts said. Yongxing, Sansha city's main island, is built on one of the Paracel Islands that are also claimed by Hanoi. The photographs were published on the websites of Xinhua and other major Chinese news portals, including one showing large signs saying the airstrip had been built by military and civilian contractors. Yongxing Island is 1.8km wide, but the airstrip is more than 2,000 metres long, suggesting to analysts that it could also be used by the military. "The newly built runway will become China's unsinkable aircraft carrier because it will provide an ideal take-off and landing base for the People's Liberation Army naval air force," said Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong. "The latest development at Yongxing Island is aimed at warning Washington that Beijing is well prepared in case the US joins with Vietnam to deal with Beijing when any possible military conflict over the territory takes place in the future," he said. The US State Department said the easing of the arms embargo on former adversary Vietnam would only apply to maritime surveillance and security equipment, but military observers in China said the aim was to help strengthen Hanoi's defences in the South China Sea. Tensions over the disputed territory sparked anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in May after China deployed an oil rig off the Paracel Islands. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie, a retired PLA officer, said the runway would also pave the way for China to set up an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea. A similar move in the East China Sea, which requires aircraft to notify China of their flight plans through the air space, sparked anger among China's neighbours last year. "The new runway is now the biggest airport in the southernmost part of China," said Li. "It will enhance Chinese fighter jets' combat capability, reconnaissance flights and even counter-reconnaissance skills. "Sansha airport is also designed to be a supply depot for Chinese naval fleets with overseas peacekeeping missions. The runway will also help newly developed tourism in the Paracels." Yongxing is 300km southeast of Hainan and has a permanent civilian population of about 1,500. It also houses army divisions comprising at least 6,000 troops after it was upgraded to a prefectural-level city two years ago. ^ top ^

China voices 'zero tolerance' against terrorism (China Daily)
2014-10-09
A Chinese envoy said here Wednesday that China maintains a "zero-tolerance" stance against terrorism and called for international counter-terrorism cooperation under the guidance of the international law and the United Nations. Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, made the remarks at a meeting of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on measures to eliminate international terrorism. "Now, the international community is facing a comeback of terrorism," he said. "We firmly support lawful, harsh measures to crack down on criminal terrorist activities and firmly support the international community in its effort to eliminate terrorism." Wang noted "the terrorist forces of the so-called 'East Turkistan' as represented by 'Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)' constitute a direct and real terrorist threat to China," adding that China is stepping up efforts to formulate a counter- terrorism law for effective collaboration with the international community. Citing counter-terrorism mechanisms China has been a part, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Global Counter-terrorism Forum, Wang said China will actively participate in and push for bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation activities. With regard to international counter-terrorism cooperation, Wang highlighted the international law, saying operations to crack down terrorism should be carried out in conformity of the purposes and principles of the UN charter and led by the United Nations and the UN Security Council. "Only by so doing can we maintain solidarity, have effective coordination and take concerted action," he said. Wang also urged the international community to improve integrated policy implementation, such as cracking down on the use of the Internet by terrorist organizations, increasing the gathering and sharing of information, and severing corridors of movement for terrorists. "Countries should take multi-pronged measures in the political, security, economic, financial and information fields, in particular through eradicating poverty, improving people's livelihood and promoting their development, so as to remove the breeding ground of terrorism," he said. ^ top ^

Japan, U.S. urged to act prudently in revising mutual defense guidelines (Xinhua)
2014-10-09
China urged Japan and the United States to act prudently in revising their mutual defense guidelines on Thursday, advising they play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment after media reports suggested Japan and the U.S. targeted China's Diaoyu Islands in an interim report on the revision of the guidelines. He reiterated the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands are part of China's inherent territory. "Foreign pressure will not shake China's determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity." The Japan-U.S. alliance is a bilateral arrangement made under special historical conditions. It should not go beyond its bilateral scope or undermine third parties' interests, including China's, Hong said. China will closely follow the revision of the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines, he said. China-Japan relations have soured since the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands in September 2012. ^ top ^

Premier pushes innovation on German visit (China Daily)
2014-10-10
Landmark bilateral cooperation program poised to cover the next 5 to 10 years. Premier Li Keqiang, starting his second visit to Germany on Thursday since taking office, aims to maximize Sino-German ties through a unique "innovation program" to help China's economic transformation. Besides a large number of business agreements to be signed during his trip, innovation will be a leading theme for a landmark Sino-German cooperation program over the next five to 10 years. This program will cover and map the future for bilateral cooperation in areas including industry, science and technology, agriculture, education, environmental protection, urbanization, medical treatment and social welfare. The program document is scheduled to be signed after the third China-Germany governmental consultation, co-chaired by Li and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. Shi Mingde, China's ambassador to Germany, said that nearly 20 Chinese ministers led by Li and at least 13 ministers from Germany will take part in the meeting - "a joint Cabinet meeting" to showcase the high-level ties. Diplomatic sources said the program includes more than 100 cooperation proposals and projects. More than 10 intergovernmental agreements and commercial contracts scheduled to be signed will cover areas including energy, agriculture, aviation and space technology, car manufacturing and mobile communication. Bjorn Conrad, associate vice-president for research and director of innovation and environmental research at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, said China is making great efforts to increase its innovative capacity, and in some areas can learn from Germany's experience. China faces huge pressure in its economic transformation as well as environmental and social challenges. Germany is the country's biggest European partner in trade, investment and technological cooperation, with bilateral trade exceeding $160 billion in 2013. Celina Chew, senior China representative for German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer, said, "Our innovative solutions address some of China's core challenges, such as helping bring new medicines and diagnoses to China. "These address the great need for better healthcare, safe and healthy food for all and solutions for an energy-efficient infrastructure for transportation and construction. "We are optimistic about the Chinese market. Today, greater China is Bayer's third-largest single market globally and the first in the Asia-Pacific region," Chew said. "We have successfully developed our business activities here and we are committed to continuing to invest in this market to bring the most innovative technology and products to China and support the idea of turning 'Made in China' into 'Created in China'." Meng Hong, an expert at the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, said Germany is keen to increase cooperation with China as the European country's economy faces a slowdown due to the lingering European debt crisis and recent unrest in Ukraine. "Innovation is an ideal approach. The concept is not confined to technologies, but means more about innovation in mindsets, systems, as well as communication and problem-solving," Meng said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China curbs third-party borrowing by local governments: Moody's (Global Times)
2014-10-05
The Chinese government has taken key steps towards increasing the responsibility of individual regional and local governments for their own borrowing and investment decisions, a Moody's report said. The new guidelines, announced on October 2 by the State Council, represent an important move towards establishing a new direct borrowing model for local governments, it said. The guidelines will restrict indirect borrowing such as through local government financing vehicles (LGFVs), thereby leading to a deceleration of local government debt, which has been climbing sharply over the past years. Moody's notes that they will also address the problem of riskier forms of borrowing from different sources, as well as related loopholes. Part of this approach includes restricting the activities of lenders. The end result should be the adoption by the local governments of more direct ways of financing, in turn heightening transparency and ultimately leading to more responsible decision-making. These guidelines constitute another milestone in the development of a local government bond market in China, the effective management of the sharp rise in local government related debt, and the restriction of increasingly riskier forms of borrowing, it said. The guidelines follow the central government's amendment of the budget law in August which ended the prohibition on the regional and local government borrowing. Principal features of the new guidelines announced on October 2 include: upper-tier local governments will begin to issue bonds directly in their own name; lower-tier local governments, such as cities and towns, will only borrow through upper-tier governments; general obligation bonds and special purpose bonds will be permitted in accordance with quotas set by the State Council; LGFVs will halt borrowing on behalf of local governments, a major move as the bonds and debt of these entities equaled 39 percent of total local government-related debt as of June 2013, according to Moody's. ^ top ^

China removes 160,000 phantom staff on payroll (Xinhua)
2014-10-06
A total of 162,629 phantom staff on the government payroll have been removed since a national campaign targeting corruption and bureaucracy was launched last year. Hebei Province saw the largest number of such officials, with 55,793 found to be getting paid even though they never worked, the Communist Party of China flagship newspaper People's Daily reported on Monday. Sichuan Province removed 28,466 such ghost staff and another 15,022 were exposed in Henan. No such official employees have been uncovered in Shanghai and Tibet, said the report, adding 531 redundant people were found in Beijing and 327 of them have been removed. According to the report, China also scrapped 114,418 vehicles for use in regular government affairs and keep only those for special services, in an effort to cut hefty spending amid mounting public complaints over the misuse of public money. The "mass-line" campaign began in June last year to improve the flagging relationship between Party officials and the general public, by cleaning up undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. ^ top ^

New 'class struggle' (Global Times)
2014-10-07
Recent moves by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), one of the most prominent State-run think tanks in China, generated widespread speculation when CASS President Wang Weiguang wrote in the Party-run journal Hongqi Wengao (Red Flag Manuscript) that "class struggle would never disappear in China." It was the use of "class struggle" that caught media attention; a phrase steeped in the tensions that triggered the havoc of the Cultural Revolution (1967-76), when national leaders called on the masses to eradicate the "class enemies" who sought to draw China into capitalism. Wang said the struggle between capitalist and socialist forces still exists in China, a comment that begged the question from observers: Is class struggle back on the political agenda? As China began opening its doors in 1978, rhetoric involving class struggle changed. Then-leader Deng Xiaoping said that class struggle was not a "main social conflict" and it should not be "exaggerated." The Party Constitution also warns that while class struggle may ignite once again, it should not be a main concern for Chinese society. Many dismissed Wang's article as inflammatory. Nevertheless, the statement aroused concerns that conservative ideologies are gaining momentum at CASS, an academic institution instrumental in shaping China's policy. Ideology intensified Though Wang did not clarify who the "class enemies" are, he wrote that China should exercise dictatorship over those who attempt to Westernize and capitalize China. Wang, a Marxist expert, has repeatedly asserted that Marxism should be the leading ideology in China and scholars should be vigilant against Western ideologies like "constitutional democracy" and "universal values." In a speech he gave on August 26, Wang said that CASS is not a group of freelancers who can write whatever they want. Rather, it is an important academic organization that promotes the ideologies of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Earlier in July, CASS's deputy president Zhao Shengjun revealed that CASS highly values its ideological work and holds political discipline as one of its primary assessment standards. According to Zhao, political responsibility can make or break a candidate or potential project, as it plays a vital role in the approval of research projects, grants and promotion. In addition to linking academic evaluation with ideology, CASS analyzes and criticizes Western ideals, including civil society and neo-liberalism through lectures, books and articles. Between December 2013 and June 1, 2014, a total 220 officials and research fellows at CASS underwent Marxism training, the largest and longest training program in the academy's history, the People's Daily reported. […] Tong Zhiwei, a political science professor at the East China University of Political Science and Law, expressed concern that too much emphasis on ideology could distract research fellows from academic work. "Gradually research fellows will lose the courage to be creative and will not be independent," Tong said. The focus of the top academic institution affects other academic institutions and colleges, Huang added. In early September, three of China's most prestigious universities, Peking University, Fudan University and Sun Yat-sen University vowed to strengthen ideological work among students and teachers under new historical conditions. The statements were published in Qiushi, a Party-run journal. ^ top ^

Academic's questions point to Communist Party divide over dogma (SCMP)
2014-10-07
The Communist Party must bridge ideological divides that are driving a wedge between its factions, party analysts have said ahead of a key meeting this month. Academics at the Central Party School have raised eight ideological questions, the answers to which they say will be crucial to the direction of the country's development, according to a report by Shanghai Thinkers Forum, a theoretical journal run by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. The article was also posted on the People's Daily website. The questions revolve around the need to maintain the traditional communist ideology as the party tries to establish a capitalist-style market economy. The issues run from the contradictions between the tenets of socialism and market economics; to how to promote core socialist values; and the need to settle the theory of class struggle. Question marks have also been raised over interpretations of Soviet-era Marxism, modern governance of state affairs, the role of market forces in resource distribution, the coexistence of Marxism and traditional Chinese culture, and the mechanics of a market economy under a centralised government. The article comes as the party prepares for its fourth plenum in Beijing on October 20-23, a gathering expected to cover major political and ideological issues, including the rule of law and judicial reform. The plenum will convene under the leadership of Xi Jinping who, in the two years since becoming general secretary, has launched both anti-corruption and ideological campaigns to "purify" the party to justify its sole rule of the world's most populous nation. The ideological debate is reflected in the wrangle that two leading party publications - Qiushi (Seeking Truth), the party's theoretic journal, and the Study Times, a key product of the Central Party School - have engaged in over late leader chairman Mao Zedong's theory of class struggle. Analysts said this rising debate highlighted the ideological dilemma the party had struggled with since the mainland embarked on market reforms 35 years ago. "This is a very interesting debate. At the core is the Communist Party's difficulty in re-establishing its legitimacy as political and economic conditions change," said Professor Zhiqun Zhu, director of the China Institute at Bucknell University in the United States. Zhu said the debate reflected deep divisions among party officials and scholars, disputes that could widen the party's internal gaps and create opposing political camps. "It may also be conducive to redefining the party's very identity in the 21st century and lead to the transformation of the party [into one] that will become more politically open and tolerant." Xigen Li, an associate professor at City University's department of media and communication, added: "The issue of ideological correctness and … reality is always a dilemma, which is difficult to resolve under China's current political system." Li said the dilemma and the debates over the ideological issues would continue and have the benefit of bringing the issues to the table for those in power to face seriously. "While ideological emancipation is the final solution - and the dilemma will exist for some time - at least some compromise could be made to solve compelling issues in economic development rationally and efficiently," Li said. ^ top ^

China Voice: "Mass-line" a persistent requirement for CPC (Xinhua)
2014-10-07
When the Communist Party of China's (CPC's) leadership launched the "mass-line" campaign last year, some people predicted that it would pass quickly like a gust of wind. But as the campaign nears its end, one and half years of action and results have shown that "mass line" is not empty words and the CPC is determined to make long-term efforts to root out the soil where questionable life and work styles grow. This is key to strengthening the Party's ties with the people. "Mass line" refers to a guideline under which CPC officials and members are required to prioritize the interests of the people and persist in exercising power for them. As promised by the leadership, the campaign acts as a "thorough cleanup" of undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance. Officials are required to reflect on their own practices and correct any misbehavior. Since the campaign was launched, a large number of Party members and officials have been punished for violating disciplines. Those sending gifts with public money, using governmental vehicles for private purposes and enjoying overseas trips with public funds, all in all, those found not caring about people's weal and woe, have been dismissed, demoted or faced judicial examination once their misconduct were found. More than a dozen ministerial-level officials have been investigated for suspected corruption, including Zhou Yongkang, a former Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. All of these measures were applauded by the public and would help "lock power in a cage". Party members and government officials are interacting more closely with the people. But the "mass-line" campaign will and should not stop, despite positive results. The Party has long noticed that its biggest political advantage lies in its close ties with the masses while the biggest potential danger for it as a governing party comes from its divorce from them. Nowadays, the temptation of power abuse are still testing officials. Some are still lacking the sense of sharing weal and woe with the people. More effective and efficient mechanisms need to be built to address people's complaints and tackle their problems as interests and values of the people are increasingly diversified in modern China. Once failing to protecting the public's interests, the CPC would lose its ruling position sooner or later. That is why the leadership has been warning against a resurgence of old problems and urging strict standards and continuing improvements as the mass-line campaign was coming to an end. The ultimate result of the campaign is subject to the people's evaluation. Only the people's satisfaction rather than Party members' self-evaluation means a pass. As long as the CPC remains a ruling party, it will continue to face evaluation of the people and "mass-line" must always be considered as the "lifeline" of the Party. ^ top ^

1 dead, 324 wounded in southwest China earthquake (Xinhua)
2014-10-08
One person died and 324 others were injured after a 6.6-magnitude quake jolted southwest China's Yunnan Province Tuesday night, according to local government. The casualties were reported mainly from Jinggu County, where the epicenter was monitored. A total of 92,700 people in Jinggu were affected, and 56,880 of them have been relocated, said an official with the county's publicity department. The quake at 9:49 p.m. (Beijing Time), with a focal depth of five kilometers, jolted the county with a population of 290,000. Tremor was felt across the province, which is prone to earthquake disasters. Yunnan has initiated the Class-I emergency response, the highest, sending rescue staff and materials to the affected areas. On August 3, a 6.5-magnitude quake hit Ludian, Yunnan, killing more than 600 people. ^ top ^

Beijing police nab 30,000 suspects in cyber crime crackdown (Xinhua)
2014-10-09
Police in Beijing have nabbed some 30,000 suspects involved in cyber crimes in an online crackdown that began in 2011, according to the latest statistics. According to Beijing's public security bureau, about 17 million illegal online messages were deleted in the three-year campaign, which also led to the detainment of more than 50 suspects implicated in terrorism activities. The clamp-down targeted cyber crimes, hackers, online rumor-mongering as well as terrorism and violent content, according to the bureau. By June this year, police had deleted 3,300 terrorism-related messages and 728 audio and video files and e-books, the bureau said. Police also stepped up penalties for operators that violated Internet laws and regulations. In 2011, around 1,000 operators were punished in accordance with the law. The number soared to 11,000 two years later. Official data showed that by the end of 2013, Beijing was home to more than 900,000 licensed websites, with about 70 percent of China's major web portals located in the capital city, and an online population exceeding 16 million. ^ top ^

Beijing bids farewell to era of 'undefended' Internet, moving to cyber power status (Global Times)
2014-10-09
A country cannot maintain its national security without the security of its network. The Snowden incident last year drew global attention to cyberspace strategies. With the increasing importance of network security, cyberspace has become a new battlefield for great powers. The number of Internet users in China has been the largest in the world since 2008 when it overtook the US. Against this backdrop, the book The Great Game of China-US in Cyberspace holds that China should build itself into not just an economic power, but also a "cyber power." The book, co-written by Fang Xingdong, director of the Center for Internet and Society under the Zhejiang University of Media and Communications and founder of chinalabs.com, and Hu Huailiang, a research fellow at chinalabs.com, was published in September. China already has ample network infrastructure and the world's largest number of netizens; however, the book argues that China is not yet a "cyber power," especially where security is concerned, with many of China's networks still virtually undefended. "Becoming a cyber power" has two meanings, according to the authors. The first is to be a power in cyberspace, and the second is to make use of cyberspace to further enhance national strength. During the first decade of the 21st century, although China's Internet usage had already taken off, in terms of industrial competitiveness, Chinese companies still lagged behind international IT leaders such as Google, Apple or Facebook, no matter the metric used. As the second decade continues to unfold, the situation has changed gradually. Although the US has more control over the Internet, China is the more dynamic market, and the one with greater potential. The authors predict that in the next half of the second decade, China and the US will be quite evenly matched. And after 2020, cyberspace configuration will be largely decided by two leading cyber powers: China and the US. Meanwhile, the book also admits that this process will be filled with twists and turns, because there is no clear path for China to follow as it moves toward cyber power status. The US' great advantage in cyberspace puts all developing countries including China in a weak position. For the foreseeable future, China will continue working hard to balance national interests and network freedom, an effort which will require direction from the top. The authors praise highly China's recent moves to develop its domestic Internet, such as the establishment of a central Internet security and informatization leading group. They believe it shows that the era of an undefended Chinese Internet has ended, and that China is now on its way toward a future cyber power. ^ top ^

China's top court puts tighter grip on internet and social media (SCMP)
2014-10-10
The Supreme People's Court has announced tighter controls to help the authorities identify people commenting on the internet and social media. The court announced yesterday that from tomorrow the authorities could order internet service providers and social media platforms to provide the personal information of users to help trace them. The court said it had been working on legal guidelines for two years and the aim was to identify "rumour-mongers". Yao Hui, a senior official at the Supreme People's Court, said people who broke the law on the internet were often hiding in the shadows and were therefore difficult for prosecution to track down. Internet and social media providers can also be ordered to hand over users' personal information to civil courts handling cases seeking damages. Yao said organisations that forwarded information on social media were also responsible for its content. People with large followings on social media also had more influence and with it greater legal responsibility for their comments, Yao added. The number of posts on microblogs dropped significantly last year after a nationwide campaign against so-called rumour-mongers. Hundreds were detained on charges of "inciting trouble" for posting unverified or critical information on their microblogs. Civil rights activists and international human rights organisations say the government tries to keep a tight grip on all forms of media on the mainland, but is increasingly focusing on social media. Supreme People's Court spokesman Sun Jungong said yesterday that the rapid growth and development of social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat meant they could influence the public far more than traditional media. The new guidelines also promise action against people or companies who delete or tamper with content on social media that they want to censor. People distorting information will be punished and any deleted or altered posts will be reposted in their original form. Sun said this form of censorship by people with superior computing skills had become a "grey industry". ^ top ^

 

 

Beijing

Beijing marks Apec summit with extra public holiday, moves to cut pollution (SCMP)
2014-10-10
The Beijing municipal government has announced a six-day public holiday for central and city government departments, and reintroduced an odd-even licence plate scheme to ease traffic on the roads during the Apec summit next month. Zhuang Zhidong, deputy head of Beijing's environmental protection bureau, said the measures would reduce pollution during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting. Local traffic controllers would restrict private cars on the road based on whether the last digit of the licence plate was odd or even, Xinhua reported. From November 3 to 12, the number of public buses in the city will increase by 400, or 2 per cent of total public transport, to compensate for the lack of private vehicles. Traffic authorities expect the measure to cut congestion by 35 per cent. During the 2008 Olympics, Beijing imposed a traffic ban using the same system and took 45 per cent of private cars off the road, relieving both traffic congestion and pollution. Employees of government departments, quasi-government institutions and organisations in Beijing will be granted a six-day holiday from November 7 to 12 as an extra measure to reduce cars on the road. Workers will instead work on Sunday, November 2, and Saturday, November 15. Similar measures were in place during the Apec summit in Shanghai in 2001, where government departments and schools were closed for five days. The mainland's unprecedented growth in the past decade has resulted in a massive growth in car ownership among the previously bicycle-dependent population. It is a major contributing factor to pollution levels. Beijing established a car lottery scheme in 2010. Only those who win the lottery may register for a number plate. Beijing also imposed a rule that on any given weekday, only one-fifth of the city's private cars were allowed on the road. The Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting will be held on November 10 and 11, with ministers of the 21 Pacific-rim governments meeting from November 7. ^ top ^

Orange pollution alert raised as Beijing smog reaches 'hazardous' levels (SCMP)
2014-10-10
Thick smog blanketed Beijing for a second day yesterday, putting the city on a higher air pollution alert and forcing its dirtiest factories to cut fumes by 30 per cent. The capital raised its pollution alert from yellow to orange - the second-highest level on a four-tier warning system - at about noon, with the contamination remaining hazardous throughout the day. Beijing's official Air Quality Index reached 470 at 4pm. A reading of over 300 is considered severe pollution. Toxic smog also blanketed nearby cities - mostly in Hebei and Shanxi provinces - including Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Dingzhou and Yangquan. Eighteen highways linking Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai had to be closed, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Beijing is under tremendous pressure to tackle the haze, with the capital due to host a key political meeting in two weeks and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled for early next month. The municipal government convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to discuss ways to improve conditions. Levels of PM2.5 particles - which lodge deep inside the lungs and are the most dangerous to human health - were recorded at 455 micrograms per cubic metre, 18 times the World Health Organisation's recommended safe level. Hebei provincial authorities also issued an orange alert for a second day as the AQI reading in Xingtai, in southern Hebei, exceeded the index's upper limit yesterday afternoon. Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau blamed "unfavourable" weather conditions and regional pollution. It said still air in the capital prevented the pollutants from dispersing, and more were drifting in from neighbouring Hebei, increasing the PM2.5 count in the city. Burn-offs of crop stubble in rural Hebei, Henan and Shandong provinces worsened the smog, authorities said. The Beijing authorities used social media to warn residents to take precautions, but few people on the streets were seen wearing masks. The capital's education bureau issued a notice to all primary and middle schools to stop all outdoor sporting activities. Some residents wondered if the air would ever clear. "It's the smog season of the year again. Now I wonder if I can live long enough to see it solved," Beijing resident Su Zhiyu, 32, said. "If the government can't solve the problem for the residents, [we] should at least have a day off on smoggy days." Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, criticised Beijing authorities for failing to put the city on red alert, the highest, to protect children vulnerable to pollution. Under a red alert, primary and middle schools suspend classes and at least half of the city's cars are taken off the road. Beijing has not issued a red alert since the warning system was introduced last year. The dense pollution is expected to continue until tomorrow, when a cold front is forecast to clear up the smog. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama 'in informal talks' for pilgrimage to China's sacred Mt Wutai (SCMP)
2014-10-03
The Dalai Lama signalled yesterday that he was in informal talks with Beijing to make a historic pilgrimage to China after more than half a century in exile. The Tibetan spiritual leader said he had "made clear" his desire to undertake the pilgrimage to a sacred mountain in Shanxi province to contacts in China, including retired Communist Party officials. "It's not finalised, not yet, but the idea is there," the 79-year-old said in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala, where he lives. "Not formally or seriously, but informally... I express, this is my desire, and some of my friends, they are also showing their genuine interest or concern," he said. "Recently, some Chinese officials, for example the deputy party secretary in the autonomous region of Tibet, he also mentioned the possibility of my visit as a pilgrimage to that sacred place." The Dalai Lama has long expressed a desire to visit Mt Wutai, a mountain considered sacred by Tibetans. His comments come amid speculation of an easing in tensions with China, which in the past has decried the spiritual leader as a "splittist" and accused him of seeking secession. The exiled monk, who retired from politics in 2011, says he is fighting for greater autonomy for Tibetan areas. But Lian Xiangmin, a research fellow at the China Tibetology Research Centre, said he did not see the possibility of a breakthrough on the issue because Beijing did not want to change its policy towards the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. "I think the Dalai Lama is going to attract attention in the international community by indicating informal talks with Beijing over his desire to make a pilgrimage," Lian said. "He just wants to use the overseas media to put pressure on Beijing to push President Xi Jinping to change policy on Tibet. "I don't see any sign that Beijing will make any changes on its stance towards Tibet and the Dalai Lama." The Dalai Lama said he welcomed recent comments by Xi on the importance of Buddhism in Chinese society and was "optimistic" about the present leadership in Beijing. "This is something very new, a Communist Party leader saying something about spirituality," the exiled leader said. He has described Xi as "more open-minded" than his presidential predecessors. The Dalai Lama, who enjoyed a close relationship with Xi's father before he fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising, also praised Xi for the crackdown on official corruption. But he criticised Beijing's treatment of dissidents, including the Uygur writer Ilham Tohti, who was sentenced last month to life in prison for separatism. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China issues white paper on Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (Xinhua)
2014-10-05
The Chinese government released a white paper Sunday detailing history and achievements made by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) to mark its 60th founding anniversary, highlighting its role in maintaining social stability and enhancing border defense. "It has been a consistent policy of the central government to support the growth of the XPCC," said the white paper, published by the State Council Information Office under the title "History and Development of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps." At present, Xinjiang is at a critical stage of achieving lasting social and political stability, the white paper said. "It has been China's long-term strategy to give better play to the unique role of the XPCC in maintaining stability and safeguarding the border," it said. "Under new conditions, the XPCC should never be allowed to weaken, but rather be strengthened." The white paper elaborated on the founding, development, responsibilities, structure of the XPCC and its roles in promoting economic development, safeguarding the border areas, maintaining stability, and promoting ethnic unity in the western region. Combining the functions of production, administration and defense, the XPCC has made "indelible contributions" to the development of Xinjiang by promoting unity among ethnic groups, maintaining social stability, and strengthening national border defense, it said. […] It is a special social organization that handles its own administrative and judicial affairs within the reclamation areas under its administration, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the state and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with economic planning directly supervised by the state. It is subordinated to the dual leadership of the central government and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to the white paper. Starting from scratch 60 years ago, the XPCC workers have reclaimed ecological oases from the desolate Gobi desert, initiated Xinjiang's modernization, built large-scale agriculture and industrial and mining enterprises, and established new cities and towns through joining hands with local people of all ethnic groups. By the end of 2013, the XPCC had 176 regiments, 14 divisions, an area of 70,600 square kilometers under its administration, including 1,244,770 hectares of farmland, and a population of 2,701,400, accounting for 11.9 percent of Xinjiang's total population, figures from the white paper show. […] The XPCC, a highly organized paramilitary force, has played a special role in safeguarding Xinjiang's social stability and in cracking down on violent terrorist crimes, according to the white paper. […] In rapid response to the July 5 Urumqi riot of 2009, the XPCC sent militias to patrol the city and guard key districts from possible attacks. […] ^ top ^

Xinjiang party boss Zhang Chunxian calls for hard and soft lines to tackle terror (SCMP)
2014-10-06
Xinjiang's party boss is pushing a hard and soft line to tackle terrorism in the region, calling for better public education and handling of local grievances alongside a tough crackdown on extremists. Visiting Turpan, the scene of deadly violence last year, Zhang Chunxian, the region's Communist Party chief, said religious leaders in Xinjiang should ward off extremism and local governments should "seriously reflect" on their past efforts against terrorism. The region should also improve its capacity to prevent terror attacks, he said. Zhang's remarks came ahead of the release of a white paper yesterday by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which vowed to play a special role in safeguarding unification and in cracking down on violent terrorist crimes. The corps said it faced a crucial task to maintain Xinjiang's "lasting peace and stability". Zhang spent Thursday and Friday in Turpan, where a series of attacks in Shanshan county on June 26 last year killed 35 people, and caused 2.13 million yuan (HK$2.69 million) in property losses. A local court imposed sentences of between 25 years in prison and death on the Uygur attackers in September 2013. "A tough hand is needed to crack down, and a tough hand is also needed for education and channelling [people away from extremism]," Xinjiang Daily quoted Zhang as saying. He said the regional government should be familiar with the needs of local citizens and improve their livelihood. Cadres should abide by central government directives to foster ethnic unity, and be determined in the fight against terrorism, he added. Terrorism should be tackled from its root and cadres should be on alert for every sign, and educate the public to "know the true face of extremist religious thoughts", he said. Zhang told the imam of a Turpan mosque to step up efforts for religious harmony. The party boss also visited an aircraft cooperative, where a Uygur woman said she was delighted to remove her headscarf. Top party leaders have called for greater efforts to tackle violence and improve ethnic relations in the region. A work conference on ethnic affairs chaired by President Xi Jinping last month said cities should neither close their doors to ethnic minorities nor take a hands-off approach to inward migration by those groups. Xinjiang has been hit by a fresh series of violent attacks recently. Some 50 people, including 40 suspected assailants, were killed last month in multiple explosions in Luntai county. Fifty-four people were injured in the attack, regional authorities said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Chinese public voice opposition againt HK Occupy Central (Xinhua)
2014-10-04
Chinese people from all walks of life have voiced their strong denouncement and opposition against the illegal gatherings of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong over these days. The Occupy Central movement has seriously affected the social order in Hong Kong and runs counter to the rule of law, said Beijing citizen Zhao Qing. "Organizers of the movement just holds the interests of all Hong Kong people as hostage for personal good of a handful of people, which are very despicable," Zhao said. Prof. Chen Duanhong, with the Law School of the Peking University, said that the Occupy Central organizers, out of certain political purposes, are using the rhetoric such as "civil disobedience" as a disguise to instigate people to trample on the law. Victor Zhikai Gao, a director of China National Association for International Studies, told Xinhua that he believes that the current movement, including illegal blocking of traffic and serious disturbance to citizens' daily life, is "obviously off limits to a peaceful and legitimate exercise of citizens' rights." "Democracy must be built on the basis of rule of law, and democratic rights should also be practiced by lawful means. What the Occupy Central protesters are doing is trying to ask for their so-called 'democracy' by measures to undermine the rule of law, a ridiculous paradox," he said. Gao said he has confidence in the Hong Kong government's proper handling the situation. The ongoing protests have affected the city's business and tourism. Wang Luguo, a businessman in neighboring Guangdong Province, told Xinhua that companies would have to stop doing business in Hong Kong if the protest continued. "For our own profits, we have to minimize the damage. We will have to stop exporting and importing goods via Hong Kong," said Wang, who has done such trades between Hong Kong and Guangdong for years. "As an export-oriented economy, Hong Kong needs stable and safe market environment," he said. "Who is gonna pay the price for current situations? I think ordinary Hong Kong residents and businesses will pay at last." Lin Dan, a community leader of southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou, said his neighbors are worrying about the security in Hong Kong and have canceled their holiday travel plans. "We have been following what happened in Hong Kong on news. Many of us thought such things should not have happened. Hong Kong people should trust the central government," Lin said. "I hope those taking part in the protest will come to their sense shortly." Li Zhensheng is a villager from Rongzhong village in southeast China's Fujian Province, where many families have relatives in Hong Kong. "We are angry about the protest. Hong Kong is a free society but should have rules." "The Occupy Central movement is obviously manipulated by certain political forces," said Zhang Nianchi, director of the Shanghai Institute for East Asian Studies, "I believe most Hong Kong people, including young students, will not be used by these forces. I hope they can tell the right from wrong and value the interests of the whole Hong Kong society." Since the policy of "One Country, Two Systems", a great creation of the Chinese, was implemented in Hong Kong 17 years ago, the city has been one of the best business hubs in the world, said Zhou Hanmin, a national political advisor based in Shanghai. "Hong Kong people and its economy will be the first to suffer from the current unrest. Any places with close business links with Hong Kong would not like to see it," he said. To realize the universal suffrage smoothly, Hong Kong should work with the central government and rely on joint efforts of all Hong Kong people, he said. ^ top ^

HK gov't to hold meeting with Occupy students on Friday (Xinhua)
2014-10-07
The government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is to hold the first formal meeting with representatives of the Occupy Central students on Friday afternoon, a government official said on Tuesday evening. The date for the formal meeting was agreed on at the third preliminary talk between the Hong Kong government and representatives of the students held on Tuesday. Lau Kong-wah, HK's undersecretary of constitutional affairs, said after the preliminary talk that the government and three student representatives reached a consensus on the time of the meeting, and the meeting's location will be determined later. According to Lau, the two sides will discuss two issues, namely "constitutional development's constitutional basis" and " constitutional development's legal provision", during the meeting. Each side could send five members to the first meeting. Lau said the entire process of the formal meeting will be open to media, and the two sides will determine the date for the second round of meeting after Friday's meeting. ^ top ^

Protesters call new rally as Hong Kong government cancels talks (SCMP)
2014-10-10
The government called off a meeting with student protest leaders yesterday on the eve of a scheduled dialogue to discuss election reform, saying it was unacceptable that protesters were using the occasion to incite more people to join the mass sit-in. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the talks would not be held because the government felt they would not lead to a constructive outcome. Lester Shum, vice-secretary-general of the Federation of Students, responded by calling on the tens of thousands of Hongkongers who had taken part in the Occupy movement to take to the streets tonight at 7.30 for an assembly in Harcourt Road, now renamed by protest leaders as "The Umbrella Square". About two hours before the chief secretary's announcement, pan-democratic lawmakers and protest leaders - including the Federation of Students, Occupy Central co-founders and the student activist group Scholarism - had vowed to escalate their disobedience and non-cooperation movement if the government failed to make "substantial responses" to their demands. These included the retraction of Beijing's restrictive framework for universal suffrage and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. "With much regret, [after] the remarks made by student representatives in the past two days, especially this afternoon, I realise that the basis for a constructive dialogue has been seriously undermined," said Lam. She added that the government remained open to dialogue, but stressed that it would not accept protest leaders using the public interest as a bargaining chip by linking the dialogue results to their decision on retreating from protest sites. "Their unlawful actions must end as soon as possible," she said. However, she did not answer directly whether, or when, the police force would disperse protesters with force. Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said that Lam had used the students' remarks as "excuses" to call off the dialogue. "We were only saying that if the dialogue doesn't result in any progress, there will be such a movement, but officials said we had already started it. "If the chief secretary is sincere, the dialogue would still go on tomorrow." Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convenor of Scholarism, said they might mobilise another class boycott in secondary schools. Pan-democratic lawmakers suggested invoking the Legislative Council's Power and Privileges Ordinance to probe the police's handling of protests - such as the use of tear gas on demonstrators. But pro-government lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung suggested launching a separate inquiry to counter the pan-democrats' move. And Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, filed a petition to Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing on Wednesday, calling for another probe into the organisation and financial sources of the protests. Meanwhile, a signature campaign has been launched to urge the government and student representatives to start talking as soon as possible. Signatories include former civil service secretary Joseph Wong Wing-ping and barrister Edward Chan King-sang. In a message to Hongkongers they said the current movement was not a revolution but a democracy movement initiated by students whose aim was not to overthrow the government. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Beijing meddling in Taiwan bids to forge trade pacts, minister claims (SCMP)
2014-10-06
Taiwan's economics minister Duh Tyzz-jiun has accused the mainland's government of meddling in other countries' efforts to sign trade pacts with the island, according to a local media report. The minister said countries that were likely to enter into substantive trade talks with Taiwan this year had decided to hold off after Beijing expressed concerns about their engagement with Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported yesterday, citing an interview Duh gave with the United Daily News group. Duh said Beijing had obstructed Taiwanese efforts to reach or sign free-trade agreements with at least two countries, including Malaysia. Beijing's ambassador in Kuala Lumpur, Huang Huikang, said in August the mainland was against any move by Malaysia to sign a free-trade agreement with Taiwan, although it did not oppose both sides developing trade ties, Sin Chew Daily reported. The China Times yesterday named Australia as the other country in talks with Taiwan over a trade pact, but it did not cite any sources. Beijing and Taiwan have been rivals for decades after Kuomintang forces fled to the island in 1949 after losing the civil war on the mainland. Relations have thawed since Ma Ying-jeou became president in Taiwan in 2008, but Beijing still considers the island a breakaway province and has previously threatened to invade if it should formally declare independence. Duh also said in the interview he aimed to seal a merchandise trade agreement with the mainland no later than June. Taiwan is concerned its businesses may suffer after the mainland and South Korea, a major economic competitor to the island, sign a trade deal, probably by the end of the year. Taiwan and Beijing restarted talks on the merchandise trade pact in September after they were suspended for 11 months. The negotiations were put on hold amid huge protests in Taiwan earlier this year over a services trade pact with Beijing. Protesters feared that closer economic ties with the mainland would cost the island jobs and also pose a threat to Taiwan's democratic system. Beijing and Taiwan were supposed to seal the merchandise trade pact by the end of this year, but that goal now seemed out of reach, Duh was quoted as saying. ^ top ^

Taipei seeks US help to build advanced submarines (SCMP)
2014-10-08
Taiwan is seeking support from Washington to build its own submarines after failing to get the military hardware from either the United States or other countries. But analysts warn the move could irritate Beijing and affect warming cross-strait relations. At the US-Taiwan Defence Industry Conference in the United States on Monday, Chiu Kuo-cheng, the island's deputy defence minister, called on Washington to supply Taiwan with the technology and weapons it needed to defend itself, especially diesel-electric submarines and advanced fighter jets. "[But] in addition to acquiring submarines from abroad, Taiwan is aggressively developing defensive weapons on its own and is preparing to build its own submarines," the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported Chiu as saying. Chiu, who led a delegation to the conference, said the mainland's aggressive military build-up in the air and at sea was a serious threat to Taiwan. Sales of submarines are a highly sensitive issue and Washington has not followed through with a 2001 deal to sell eight diesel-electric submarines over fears it could hurt mainland-US relations. The US has said it will help Taiwan build submarines in other countries, but so far none have expressed interest in building the warships, despite the potentially lucrative contracts. Wang Jyh-perng, a navy captain and associate research fellow at the Association for Managing Defence and Strategies, told the Central News Agency that Taiwan could best hope to realise its submarine ambitions by first building smaller vessels. "It would be easier for Taiwan to acquire the technologies needed if it aimed at smaller targets," he was quoted by the agency as saying. Arthur Ding Shu-fan, secretary general of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies, said Chiu's comments suggested Taiwan and the US had made progress on the submarine issue. "But the United States may only want to transfer [construction] technology to Taiwan, but not other hardware like weapons and electronic devices," he said, noting that submarines are offensive rather defensive weapons. But Ding said that any military cooperation between Taiwan and the US would only irritate Beijing, and that would affect cross-strait relations. Li Jie, a naval expert based in Beijing, said that except for Japan, no other countries would want to help the US pass on technology to Taiwan and risk offending the mainland. "This would create a setback in cross-strait relations," he warned. ^ top ^

Taiwan's Vincent Siew to attend APEC in Beijing (Xinhua)
2014-10-08
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou has named senior politician Vincent Siew as the island's representative at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing. Beijing hosts this year's APEC leaders' week from Nov. 5 to 11, with the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Nov.10 and 11. Siew is well informed on Taiwan's political situation as well as economic, trade and foreign relations, which will allow him to precisely describe Taiwan's economic development and raise the island's economic profile in the Asia Pacific region, according to the spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo. Taiwan wishes to promote regional economic integration, an important topic for this year's summit, said Ma, adding that Siew has paid constant attention to the issue. Born in 1939, Siew is a native of Chiayi City in Taiwan. He has been the island's deputy leader, administrative chief, head of the economic authority, and mainland affairs chief. He was also vice chairman of the Kuomintang party. ^ top ^

Double Ten Day fervor humiliates history (Global Times)
2014-10-10
Today is Double Ten Day, a national holiday in Taiwan to commemorate the Chinese Revolution of October 10, 1911. In recent years, the Republic of China, which is merely a symbol in memory of mainlanders, has loomed in some people's minds. It plays a complex role in the Taiwan question. Nowadays, a morbid nostalgia for the Republic of China has emerged among a few Internet communities and a small number of intellectuals. "Republic of China fervor" is fixated on beautifying that historical period, claiming it was a time of "democracy, freedom and respect for wisdom." However, supporters merely base their views on the states of a minority of senior intellectuals during that time, who belonged to the upper class and were respected due to their academic performances. There is even extreme online rhetoric that Double Ten Day rather than the National Day of the People's Republic of China should be celebrated. Nostalgia is a basic emotion of human beings. Great masters Wang Guowei and Gu Hongming preserved their pigtails even after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) is still being remembered with nostalgia by some. There are complicated reasons for nostalgia and a mature society should give it a wide tolerance. However, we should make no bones about exposing their tricks when fanatics make use of nostalgia for the Republic of China as an ideological, and even a political tool, to challenge mainstream historical and political views in the Chinese mainland. Chinese people abandoned the Republic of China 65 years ago. If the Kuomintang (KMT) regime hadn't been rotten at the core and alienated the sympathies of the people, the Communist Party of China wouldn't have been able to mobilize the whole country to defeat it. KMT rule in the mainland was a mess. Its national governance failed to reach the grass roots and smash the separatist warlord regimes. Moreover, KMT was subject to Western powers. British warships were still sailing in the rivers of the Chinese mainland in the 1940s. China as a gigantic country was unable to resist the aggression of a small island nation like Japan. The KMT regime is held responsible for the humiliation that China suffered from the Japanese invasion. The Republic of China cannot be compared to present-day China, be it national comprehensive strength, international status, level of livelihood, and social security. We could miss the songs, sceneries or figures of that period, but praising the then state system and its influence is a humiliation to the whole Chinese history. ^ top ^

 

Economy

World Bank lowers China 2014 growth forecast to 7.4 pct (Xinhua)
2014-10-06
The World Bank said on Monday in Singapore that it has cut the growth target forecasts for China to 7.4 percent in 2014 and 7.2 percent in 2015, as China pushes forward structural reforms to address financial vulnerabilities and structural constraints. "Measures to contain local government debt, curb shadow banking, and tackle excess capacity, high energy demand, and high pollution will reduce investment and manufacturing output," it said so regarding China's outlook. But "China's slowdown in economy would be gradual; it's not the bottom falling out of China's growth." Stressed Sudhir Shetty, World Bank's Chief Economist in East Asia and Pacific Region, who added that the slowdown in economic growth of China will not have a dramatic impact on other countries. However, it pointed out that if China experiences a sharp slowdown, which is unlikely to happen, it would hit commodity producers in the region, such as metal exporters in Mongolia and coal exporters in Indonesia, especially hard. Overall, developing countries in East Asia Pacific will grow by 6.9 percent in 2014 and in 2015, down from the 7.1 percent rate the bank had previously forecast, and also a slowdown from 2013's 7.2 percent. The bank also adjusted its 2016 growth forecast for the region from 7.1 percent to 6.8 percent. Even though, it highlighted that Developing East Asia Pacific remains the fastest-growing region in the world. Looking ahead, the bank said the best way for countries in the region to deal with risks is to address vulnerabilities and inefficiencies caused by an extended period of loose monetary policy and fiscal stimulus, and complement these measures with structural reforms to enhance export competitiveness. Key reforms include infrastructure investment, logistics, and the liberalization of services and foreign direct investment, it pointed out. Regarding the outlook of China, it said structural reforms in sectors such as state enterprises and services could help "offset the impact of measures to contain local government debt and curb shadow banking." As to the property market, the bank said "a major nationwide correction in real estate prices in China remains unlikely, although there may be pressure on prices in several of the less rapidly growing provinces."^ top ^

Li delivers boost for the economy (China Daily)
2014-10-09
It is running within a proper range, but nation must not underestimate the challenges it faces, premier says China's economy is "running within a proper range" and merits full confidence for its fundamentals, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday, adding that the nation should not underestimate the challenges confronting it. Li's remarks, made at a State Council departmental meeting, follow forecasts by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund of slightly slower growth in China for the rest of this year and in 2015. The premier said, "Our country's economy is generally running within a proper range, with the effects of reform continuously being fulfilled and new momentum for growth being formed. "Still, there is great pressure on the domestic and international economic situations." On Monday, the World Bank forecast that economic growth in China will ease slightly to 7.4 percent this year and to 7.2 percent in 2015 as the central government seeks to put the economy on a more sustainable path with policies addressing financial vulnerabilities and structural constraints. On Tuesday, the IMF estimated that China's economic growth will slow to 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter of this year and to 7.1 percent in 2015 as the country "makes the transition to a more sustainable path". China set a growth target of around 7.5 percent for this year, while Li has said that a figure a little higher or lower than the target is reasonable. The economy expanded by 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first half. The Bank of China forecast on Sept 25 that the economy will grow by 7.3 percent in the third quarter, limited by increasing downward pressure and a high base a year ago. Li said on Wednesday the government should keep domestic economic growth at a "medium to high rate" through precise macro-control efforts, reforms, structural adjustment and increasing people's livelihoods. He also submitted a series of measures to reach this goal, such as pushing forward price reforms in fields including non-basic public services, resources and environmental protection. A group of "major projects" will be launched before the end of the year in areas such as water resources, environmental protection and information networks, Li said. Wang Jun, an analyst at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank, said: "The figure for this year won't be too far from the target of 7.5 percent. There is no need to panic or adopt short-term policies to stimulate economic growth.^ top ^

China to allow individuals to invest abroad (Xinhua)
2014-10-09
China is considering allowing individuals to directly invest in overseas markets, a central bank official revealed on Thursday. Currently, only institutions can invest abroad under a scheme called "Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors" (QDII). More than 100 institutions are qualified at present, with a combined quota of 76.8 billion U.S. dollars. Wang Dan of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said the central bank is working on a QDII2, to allow Chinese people to trade stocks on foreign bourses and hold other assets. In addition, the PBoC is considering "RMB Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors" (RQDII), which means institutions would be able to use the Chinese yuan to invest abroad rather than convert into local currency. Both outbound and inbound investment across China's border are still subject to many restrictions as the country's capital account is not open and the yuan not fully convertible, though cross-border use of the yuan is being gradually liberalized.^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK high-level visit to Incheon Asiad signals readiness for dialogue (Xinhua)
2014-10-04
A delegation of high-ranking officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including its second-in-command Hwang Pyong So, made a surprise trip to South Korea for the closing ceremony of the Incheon Asian Games Saturday. The visit, which also includes a meeting with South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae, coincides with the seventh anniversary of the signing of the October 4 Declaration, a historic document on the advancement of ties between the two neighboring countries. The DPRK's decision to send high-level officials to South Korea on this significant day is widely considered a signal to the rest of the world that Pyongyang has put priority on inter-Korean ties and is willing to strive for mending the relations. […] Analysts say the rare visit of high-ranking DPRK officials to the Asian Games means a significant and concrete step forward for improving north-south relations, despite Pyongyang's recent criticisms of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her DPRK-related policies. During the past few weeks, Pyongyang has constantly criticized Park for her DPRK-related remarks at the 69th UN General Assembly and her policies toward the DPRK during the 15-day sports competitions. […] On Sept. 26, the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea slammed Park's first keynote speech at the UN, saying her remarks posed "a blatant challenge to the dignity and social system of the DPRK and an extremely dangerous provocation driving the bedeviled north-south relations into a total catastrophe." In her speech, Park called on the international community to tear down the world's last remaining wall separating the north and south of Korea and called for worldwide attention to addressing human rights issue in the DPRK, which the DPRK said has never existed. In the meantime, the DPRK suggested carrying out the historic June 15 Joint Declaration and October 4 Declaration and urged Seoul to respond to the proposal of achieving reunification through the founding of the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo, a loose form of federation, an offer first brought up by Kim Il Sung at the sixth congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in 1980. The DPRK and South Korea agreed in the two declarations on a series of issues of common interests, including joint efforts to work for mutual respect and trust, easing of military tensions, arrangement for reunions of separated families and increase of cooperation in various areas. The Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo, which enables both sides to exercise regional autonomy and different ideologies, offers the "most realistic way to reunify the country peacefully and fairly in line with the will, wishes and interests of the whole nation," according to a statement released by the spokesman for the Disarmament and Peace Institute of the DPRK Foreign Ministry Wednesday. […] Although Pyongyang kept slamming the Park administration for "confrontational policies" toward the DPRK, the recent statements released to Seoul are cautiously-worded without the use of very harsh rhetoric or threat of military attacks, possibly leaving room for repair of relations. On Thursday, the DPRK ambassador to the UN So Se Pyong said the DPRK is not planning a nuclear or missile test and is ready for a new round of six-party talks, sending a message that the DPRK may resume the talks under certain circumstances. […] On Sept. 27, Ri Su Yong emphasized at the UN that the DPRK's nuclear program is not a bargaining chip for an exchange of something else, but an "inevitable" counter measure to deal with the U.S. hostile policy. Also on Saturday, the DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman again lashed out at the U.S. anti-DPRK campaign, accusing the United States of using human rights record and nuclear issue as a pretext to smash down the DPRK's social system. In the statement, Pyongyang expressed fears that the United States would "swallow up" the country once it has chosen to disarm itself and remove the nuclear program. […] ^ top ^

South, North Korea patrol boats exchange fire at disputed sea border (SCMP)
2014-10-07
Patrol boats from North and South Korea briefly exchanged fire yesterday near their de facto western sea border, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea's military. The incident, which occurred at about 9.50am in waters near Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, came just three days after the two Koreas agreed in rare talks to hold another round of high-level dialogue in the near future, raising hopes for a thaw in inter-Korean relations. According to the JCS, the North Korean patrol boat crossed a disputed maritime demarcation line and intruded 0.5 nautical miles into the southern side, prompting the South Korean patrol boat to fire a warning shot. But instead of retreating back across the so-called Northern Limit Line, the North Korean boat fired back, causing the South Korean side to fire again. It then retreated. Neither boat appeared to have been hit in the exchange, which lasted some 10 minutes, Yonhap News Agency quoted a JCS officer as saying, suggesting neither side aimed their shots. The incident follows talks on Saturday in which the two Koreas agreed to hold a second round of high-level talks late this month or early next month to follow up on the first round held in February. The talks in South Korea's western city of Incheon, on the sidelines of the Asian Games, marked the highest-level contact since South Korea President Park Geun-hye took office in February last year. ^ top ^

Overweight Kim Jong-un injured his ankle and knee, says N Korean source (SCMP)
2014-10-10
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who could make his first appearance in more than a month today as the nation marks its 69th anniversary, injured his ankle and knee because he's overweight but is still in charge of the country, a source close to him said. Kim's absence from the public eye, along with suggestions in the North Korean media that he might be ill, has sparked rumours abroad that all is not well in the secretive country. Kim, 31, was last was seen in public attending a concert on September 3. Before that, he had been shown walking with a limp. The leader's absence from today's event marking the founding of the ruling Korean Workers' Party would not in itself be all that unusual. Such anniversaries are generally given more weight when they are landmark years, although he attended the celebrations in the last two years. Last night, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing and direct access to the top levels of both governments, did not give any indication as to whether Kim would appear, but did shed light on his limp. "Kim Jong-un is in total control. There is no split in the top leadership," he said. "He injured his ankle and knee around late August or early September... because he is overweight. He limped around in the beginning but the injury worsened." During a surprise visit to South Korea last week to attend the closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in Incheon, three senior North Korean leaders assured their South Korean hosts that Kim was healthy. Kim missed a meeting of the country's parliament late last month, and was absent again from a gathering this week to mark his late father's election as ruling party head. Yesterday the party newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried three letters to Kim from overseas allies, and reported on returning athletes from Incheon thanking "the Marshal" for his support. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

The opposition party - MPP agrees to reshuffle the Cabinet, but not to join (infomongolia)
2014-10-03
Following the Opening of the 2014 Autumn Session of the State Great Khural (Parliament), the first issue in the center of attention is restructuring the Prime Minister's Cabinet, where Premier N.Altankhuyag had already delivered his proposals to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold and Party Groups at the Parliament have held its meetings last two days. Regarding the raising issue, the opposition political force of Mongolian People's Party (MPP) expressed its position regarding the draft bill submitted by the Prime Minister yesterday and hosted a press conference today on October 03, 2014. In their statement, MPP leaders represented by MP S.Byambatsogt, Head of MPP Group at the Parliament, MP N.Nomtoibayar, MP D.Oyunkhorol and MPP Secretary General J.Munkhbat noted, “The MPP Group held its meeting yesterday and at today's meeting we invited the Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and have exchanged questions and answers regarding the new bill. Principally, we agree to decrease the number of current Ministries, but we stand on position not to promote again those Ministers, who dropped the sector's activity and reputation working poorly. In the meantime, President Ts.Elbegdorj has also reminded again if nominate new Ministers to consider not to hold another post simultaneously or the “double coat” principle”. In addition, the Secretary General J.Munkhbat said, “If the question raises to nominate new Minister, MPP will not join this Cabinet. This Government started its work without MPP and should come to the finishing line without MPP”. ^ top ^

Prime Minister's plan to 'pull the wool over our eyes' (UB Post)
2014-10-05
The proposal to restructure the Cabinet in order to promote “work that is faster, more dynamic, more accurate, and has a higher level of responsibility” that was publically announced by the Prime Minister on September 9 will be brought up for discussion during the Fall Session of Parliament. […] Some members say that this Cabinet restructuring proposal is a cunning plan to draw the public's attention away from the economic hardships and is a way for the Prime Minister to win time by debating at length in Parliament. Even with the multiple reasons mentioned above, it is not too difficult to infer the real reason behind the Prime Minister working to restructure and replace the Cabinet that he himself established two years ago. This would be the restructuring of an entire Cabinet in order to replace Minister N. Batbayar, who has amassed more authority than him. A mediocre method employed by poor management. Generally, governance should be established so that the Cabinet structure is established through legislature, not by the Government itself, and the Prime Minister appoints the members. […] We have gone through 15 years of national instability due to political instability. The Mongolian Government is unable to find its feet because of the peculiar model of restructuring of the Cabinet on an annual basis that has been established. […] We will have torepay 500 million dollars of government bonds in three years and there doesn't seem to be a single party that is considering from where and how these payments will be made. In actuality, there needs to be few conditions met before the Mongolian Government can function well and become stable. First of all, with the exception of the Prime Minster, we cannot have members of Parliament fulfilling other roles. The reason for this is that we Mongolians have plainly seen that with only 76 members of Parliament, having 20 percent as members of the Cabinet leads to a breakdown in accountability. The next condition is the need to see the agendas of political parties and choose accordingly. Also, public funding for parties with seats in Parliament will end up being cheaper for Mongolians and will also provide an opportunity to control corruption. In order to conduct fair elections and obtain accurate income and expenditure statements from political parties the Election Commission needs to be dissolved and the Voters Commission needs to be established in its place. Finally, the roles of Ministries need to be clearly established. Otherwise some Ministries have become similar to businesses. By controlling the prices of common consumer products, the government has given false information to the market and insured the monopoly rights of certain companies and as such is likely to disrupt supply. While these conditions are not met there is little chance for the Mongolian government to function stably and effectively. Until then, it is necessary for us to stop restructuring the Cabinet and instead focus on strengthening the Government. The reappointment of one or two Ministers is within the authority of Prime Minister N. Altankhuyag, and does not require approval from Parliament. There is no need to restructure the entire Cabinet. Why try to pull the wool over our eyes? ^ top ^

Parliament of Mongolia ratifies to restructure the Cabinet diminishing the Government Ministries from current 16 to 13 (infomongolia)
2014-10-08
At the Plenary Session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) held on October 07, 2014, the final discussion on amendments to the Law on Government to restructure the Cabinet submitted by Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag was revised and approved with 73.9 % of votes. Some 51 members out of 68 parliamentarians attended have agreed to diminish the Government Ministries from current 16 to 13 with 11 Regulatory Agencies and 19 Implementing Agencies, whereas 6 Ministries will be merged into 3 Ministries and in addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be renamed as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation. ^ top ^

Press Freedom Under Siege (UB Post)
2014-10-09
In this Special Edition of the UB Post, our team has examined the challenges and shortcoming in Mongolia's press freedom and obstacles journalists face in their endeavor to provide accurate and complete information to the public. Mongolia's press freedom is facing a crisis according to Globe International Mongolia, which works to sustain Mongolian democracy and civil society, and spread power of information and knowledge. By providing information and expressing the voices of the public, the media ensures the inclusion of the public in decisions and debates that form their lives. In a democratic society, independent media is crucial for developing good governance, fighting corruption, enhancing economic efficiency and stability, and shaping public perception for a healthy and peaceful society. The Media Development Investment Fund underlined that countries with high political risk, like Mongolia which stood at 83th among 165 countries listed in the Economist's Political Instability Index in 2010, stands to benefit most from the “effectiveness of their media”. A 2011 econometric study of the impact of a healthy media sector on the political risk condition of Sub-Saharan African countries found that “The quantile regression analysis… suggests that a free media and greater access to information has a greater impact on improving political risk status for countries with high political risk situations than for countries that are more stable.” Ts.Baldorj, the founder of the UB Post and Mongol News Group, once said, “Journalism is more valuable than trade and is more powerful than nations. It is an art able to move people.” Sustainable development is also something that can only be accomplished with independent media. “At its heart, development – if it is to be sustainable – must be a process that allows people to be their own agents of change: to act individually and collectively, using their own ingenuity and accessing ideas, practices and knowledge in the search for ways to fulfill their potential,” a 2007 Panos report highlighted. This tool of great power therefore cannot be in control of or influenced by the powers which it must keep a watchful eye on. Through our investigation, the UB Post team has discovered serious threats to press freedom such as laws that cripple free expression and access to certain information, anonymous owners of media outlets in Mongolia that effectively influences public perception, and violations to journalism ethics and copyrights. In the age of information, press freedom and freedom of expression is imperative. Free and accurate information allows individuals, communities and nations to shape their own fate. We at the UB Post acknowledge that sometimes, under pressure of deadline, we too fall short of the standards we have set for ourselves and are subject to the same shortcomings as our peers. Mongolia is often viewed as an exemplary democracy in the region by international communities, but rarely is the pressure that media – as a voice of the people or the “fourth estate” – faces recognized and acknowledged in the outside perceptions. By publishing our Special Edition on Press Freedom, we hope that our readers gain a better understanding of the challenges the press faces as we work to provide news stories to our readers and shed light on unresolved issues, and we urge you to stand with us in the fight for press freedom and free speech, for we are your voice. […] ^ 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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