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
  22-28.11.14, No. 551  
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Table of contents

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Bilateral Issues

China's rich want to send children abroad for education (Xinhua)
2014-11-23
An overwhelming majority of China's richest people are likely to send their children abroad for education, the United States and the United Kingdom being their first choices, according to a Hurun Report on education. The report said that some 80 percent of the country's rich people have plans to send children abroad, the highest ratio in the world. By contrast, Japan has less than 1 percent and Germany has less than 10 percent of its rich people having such plans, said the report. The rich people are most likely to send their children to the United States and the United Kingdom while other countries such as Australia, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, France and Germany attract most of the rest. The report also found that the students tend to get younger. The average age of the millionaires' children is 16 years old when they were sent abroad. Rupert Hoogewerf, publisher of the report, said ten years ago, Chinese rich people could only send their children to Canada and Australia because large number of Chinese people there. "Now, the Chinese rich people have a much broader social network, as a result of which they can find trusted people anywhere in the world and can rest assured sending children to any country." "Long time overseas study of these students can definitely do good to the globalization of China's economy," said Rupert. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Korean-American Christian aid worker detained in China (SCMP)
2014-11-21
A Korean-American living on the border of China and North Korea has been detained by Chinese authorities, US officials have confirmed. Peter Hahn, a 73-year-old naturalised American citizen who left North Korea as a child, was taken in for questioning by local police on Tuesday and placed under detention after a six-hour interrogation, his lawyer told reporters earlier. US embassy officials would not comment on the case specifically, citing privacy regulations, but said they were “aware of the detention of an American citizen” in the region. Hahn has run a Christian aid agency in Tumen, Jilin province for the past two decades, which provides education and supplies to the poor in North Korea. Two other staff members, including a South Korean national, were detained earlier this month. According to Hahn's lawyer, Shanghai-based Zhang Peihong, the aid worker is accused of embezzlement and possession of fraudulent receipts. Speaking to Fairfax Media, Zhang described the allegations as “groundless” and “impossible to stand up.” This is not Hahn's first run-in with Chinese authorities. Reuters reported in August that his charity was under investigation and his bank accounts had been frozen. “When I visited him in September, plainclothes police were stationed outside his building, and it was sealed,” Zhang told the New York Times. Hahn's detention comes three months after Chinese authorities detained Canadians Kevin and Julie Garratt, who had lived in Dandong, Liaoning province – also on the North Korean border – since 1984. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the couple was “under investigation for suspected theft of state secrets about China's military and national defence research.” Canadian consular officials have visited with the Garratts regularly since their detention, but authorities have repeatedly denied the family's request for access to legal counsel, a source told Reuters. “They remain detained and isolated from their family and legal counsel, and it conditions that are nothing short of demeaning and withdrawn from meaningful human contact,” the source said. Chinese authorities have been targeting Christian groups that work on the North Korean border in recent months, insiders said. Pastor Simon Suh told reporters that around 1,000 South Korean missionaries have been forced out of China, and many churches in the region had closed. “Obviously, the screw is tightening all along the border,” a South Korean Christian activist told Reuters. “There has been a concerted effort to break up the network of people who help North Koreans – on either side of the border.” [...] ^ top ^

Regional military chiefs hail Beijing's security proposal (China Daily)
2014-11-22
China proposed on Friday that disputes in the Asia-Pacific region be tackled by an efficient crisis management and control mechanisms. The proposal, put forward at a major defense policy forum in Beijing, won widespread acclaim from military chiefs and leading defense specialists in the region. They said a liaison system has yet to be established to help the economically dynamic region tackle looming geopolitical concerns, and the proposal will help to resolve this. In an address to the fifth Xiangshan Forum, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Chang Wanquan said that China held 2,000 talks or meetings last year with neighbors on border issues. China seeks to further enhance dispute management procedures, boost defense cooperation and "strengthen the regional security architecture", Chang said in a three-point proposal. Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen endorsed Chang's proposal and underscored the need to build an Asian security framework to set up meetings and cool any potential tension. Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also backed Chang's proposal. Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA navy's Expert Consultation Committee, said Asia-Pacific is "the only region in the world that still suffers from the wounds of the Cold War", and a security mechanism, like that established in Europe, has yet to be set up. The forum provides a platform that "transcends different ideologies and involves all regional stakeholders", Yin added. Some Western analysts have speculated that the China-led forum was upgraded from an event held every two years to an annual one earlier this year to steal the thunder from the Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore. Singaporean Defense Minister Ng told Friday's plenary session that more opportunities for dialogue should be given to high-ranking military officials in the region, and meetings such as the Xiangshan Forum help to keep areas of tension from spiraling out of control. Zhang Tuosheng, director of the Department of Research at the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, said China is a major player in the region, and "such platforms do not conflict with each other because they are working in concert to shape a safer region". Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said changing mindsets is important, adding that, "It may take quite a long time to shape a strong and popular belief of win-win cooperation." Chang dismissed any connection between China's "justified" defense budget growth and allegations of "growing assertiveness" by China. Military modernization "serves China's practical need to secure its own borders" Chang said. He told the forum, "To defend our own security is a most direct contribution to security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region." Andrei Kokoshin, director of the Institute for International Security Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences and former secretary of the Russian Security Council, said the modernization of the People's Liberation Army is playing a positive role in boosting regional security and stability. ^ top ^

China, Pacific island countries announce strategic partnership (Global Times)
2014-11-23
China and eight Pacific island countries agreed here on Saturday to establish a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. The agreement was announced at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and the leaders of the eight countries, namely Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Micronesia President Emanuel Mori, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O' Neill, Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman, The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Tonga Prime Minister Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano and Niue Prime Minister Toke Talagi. All the eight island countries have established diplomatic ties with China since the 1970s. In a keynote speech delivered at the meeting, Xi expounded China's policy and measures to enhance relations with the island countries in a new era, stressing that China is a sincere friend and partner of those countries. […] Hailing the expanding common interests of China and the island countries, Xi said their friendly cooperation has entered a fast-track of development. "China will attach more not less importance to its relations with the island countries and will make more input," he said. Xi said China respects the island countries' own choices of social systems and development paths in accordance with their national conditions, and support the countries' efforts to manage and decide on regional affairs in their own way as well as to participate in international affairs to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests. […] "(We) stand ready to expand government-to-government, legislature-to-legislature and party-to-party interactions with the island countries, and will continue to advance the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum and other regular dialogues," said the Chinese president. Referring to his proposal on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Xi said China sincerely hopes to share experience and achievement of development with the island countries and welcomes them to take a ride on the Chinese "express train" of development. China is willing to deepen cooperation with the island countries in trade, agriculture and fishery, marine industry, energy and resources, infrastructure construction and other sectors, said Xi, adding that China will offer zero-tariff preference for 97 percent of tax items imported from the least developed countries. China will continue to provide support for the island countries' major projects, infrastructure construction and projects involving people's livelihoods, Xi said. […] ^ top ^

US should stay out of S.China Sea land reclamation issue: PLA general (Global Times)
2014-11-24
"Stay out of it." That appears to be the message of a general of China's People's Liberation Army, following reports the US urged China to halt land reclamation activities in the South China Sea. PLA Major General Luo Yuan told the Global Times that as China is constructing infrastructure on the reef, mainly to improve the living standards of the reef-stationed soldiers. "The US is obviously biased considering that the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam have already set up military facilities," he said. China is building an island in the South China Sea that could host an airfield in the South China Sea, an area where China is having territorial disputes with neighboring states, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a US military spokesman, told AFP on Friday. "We urge China to stop its land reclamation program, and engage in diplomatic initiatives to encourage all sides to restrain themselves in these sorts of activities," Pool said. In the past three months, China has used dredgers to construct an island about 3,000 yards (meters) long and 200-300 meters wide on the Yongshu Reef, which was previously under water, according to a report by IHS Jane's Defence. The Philippines has Zhongye Island, Malaysia has Danwan Reef, and Vietnam has Nanzi Island, the magazine said. Yang Yujun, a spokesman with China's Ministry of National Defense, said last month that "China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters." "The construction and maintenance of facilities, and other activities we conducted on these islands are within our sovereign rights and they are legitimate," he added. "China is likely to withstand the international pressure and continue the construction, since it is completely legitimate and justifiable," Luo said. Liu Feng, a maritime expert with China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said that the magazine report has exaggerated the scale of Yongshu Reef, which is much smaller than those of other countries. ^ top ^

Chinese, Iranian FMs hold talks over nuclear issue (Xinhua)
2014-11-24
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks here with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif Monday on the sidelines of a multilateral dialogue on Iran's nuclear issue. Noting that negotiations over the Iranian nuclear issue have made significant progress recently, Wang said China, as a responsible negotiating party, has always been dedicated to promoting peace and dialogue and looking to help reach a comprehensive agreement over the matter, which meets the common interests of the international community, including Iran. As the negotiations enter a crucial stage, China holds a fair and objective stance and has broached new ways of thinking for resolving the remaining focal issues, hoping to add new impetus to the negotiations, he said. For his part, Zarif appreciated the positive and constructive role that China has been playing in Iran's nuclear talks. Iran is committed to reaching a comprehensive deal and is willing to keep close contacts with China on this issue to jointly promote the negotiation process, he added. Negotiators from Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1) have gathered in the Austrian capital of Vienna for a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue by the Monday deadline. But the parties can not bridge the remaining major differences as the West wants Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear program while Iran insists its nuclear right is inalienable. The sticking points are how many uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran can have and the speed of lifting sanctions. "If we don't have enough time here, I believe all the parties concerned will continue to think about whether we will be able to extend the duration of this negotiation and how long it will be extended," Wang proposed. ^ top ^

Chinese premier meets prime minister of Germany's Bavaria (Xinhua)
2014-11-24
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Horst Seehofer, Prime Minister of Bavaria, Germany, in Beijing on Monday. Li hailed the development of China-Germany relations, calling on the two sides to maintain exchanges in all levels and areas and to implement an action plan for cooperation between the two countries. The action plan, issued during the third round of governmental consultation held in October, is a guideline for bilateral cooperation in the medium and long term. Li said China is pushing forward reform of the government including streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels, stimulating the vitality of the market, and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. A new motive for China's economic growth is taking shape. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with Bavaria and share experiences with it to boost the China-Germany cooperation, Li added. Seehofer spoke positively of China's development path and bilateral cooperation in all areas. He said Bavaria expected to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in such areas as trade, culture and locality to serve the development of Germany-China relations. Seehofer is also chairman of the Chrisitian Social Union, a party of Germany's ruling coalition. He was invited by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. ^ top ^

Chinese president urges Palestinians, Israel to resume peace talks (Xinhua)
2014-11-25
Xi made the appeal in a message hailing the meeting held Monday at the United Nations to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. History has proved that force does not lead to peace and that negotiations is the only way to resolve differences, Xi said. "China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate national rights," Xi said. Realizing peace between Palestinians and Israel is the common wish of the world and China will work with unremitting effort with the international community to achieve that goal, he added. The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the United Nations on or around Nov. 29 each year. The Solidarity Day aims to help the international community focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine is still unresolved, and that the Palestinian people have yet to attain their rights as defined by the UN General Assembly. The United Nations declared 2014 as the "International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People." ^ top ^

China ready to hold fresh round of border talks with India (Xinhua)
2014-11-25
China welcomes India's newly-appointed special representative on border talks with China, Ajit Doval, and expects a new round of border talks with India soon, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday. Doval, a national security advisor, was appointed to the role by the Indian government on Monday."We are willing to hold a new round of special representatives' talks on border issues at an appropriate time, and push forward the settlement of the problem based on the principles and consensus reached by both sides in previous talks," said spokeswoman Hua Chunying. Currently, the talks between both countries' special representatives have entered a crucial stage, with an initial agreement reached, Hua told a routine press briefing. "To settle the border problem between China and India at an early date meets both countries' common interests and the strategic target agreed by both state leaders," she said. China vows joint efforts with India to push forward border negotiation, in a bid to seek a solution that is fair, reasonable and acceptable to both sides, she added. China and India share a 2,000-km-long border that has not been formally delineated. The two countries had a border conflict in 1962. The two countries established special representative meetings in 2003 as an important platform for resolving border disputes. So far, the two sides have held 17 rounds of talks between their special representatives on the border issue. ^ top ^

Chinese ships back on patrol in waters disputed with Japan (SCMP)
2014-11-26
Chinese patrol ships returned to disputed waters in the East China Sea yesterday for the first time since President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Beijing earlier this month. Three China coastguard vessels "patrolled the territorial waters around the Diaoyu Islands" yesterday, the State Oceanic Administration said in a terse statement on its website. [...] The disputed Diaoyus, which China claims, are currently under the control of Japan, which calls them the Senkakus. Relations between Japan and China have been in a deep freeze over the ownership of the islands and what Beijing views as Japan's rewriting of history, especially surrounding the period around the second world war. The two sides reached a consensus ahead of the Apec summit in Beijing earlier this month, acknowledging both sides had "different views" over the tense situation in the East China Sea. Xi and Abe later met on November 10, seen as a symbolic first step towards reconciliation. "It is regrettable that the incident occurred immediately after the two leaders discussed ways to avert a crisis" around the Senkakus, Kyodo cited a Japanese government source as saying. [...] "The patrolling isn't significant as both sides have agreed to work together on a crisis management mechanism to prevent an escalation of tensions," Lian said. Japanese foreign ministry sources said Junichi Ihara, director general of the ministry's Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau, lodged the protest by phone with a senior diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo. [...] Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Monday that the different English translations by Beijing and Tokyo on their consensus may shed light on both governments' different concerns. ^ top ^

China pursues fugitive corrupt officials via overseas courts (Global Times)
2014-11-27
China is starting to repatriate corrupt officials who fled to the US and Canada to escape prosecution, despite the lack of extradition treaties with the two nations, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said Wednesday. Other legal means, including deportation of illegal immigrants or prosecuting suspects in local courts, can be used in the absence of such treaties, Xu Hong, Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said during a press conference in Beijing on the transnational manhunt for criminal suspects. The lack of extradition treaties remains a major obstacle for anti-graft cooperation between China and countries like the US and Canada. This means that China can only resort to alternatives to chase fugitives and assets, such as suing the suspects in the US or taking advantage of illegal immigration regulations. Since the July launch of Fox Hunt 2014, the code name for the international manhunt seeking officials wanted in connection with corruption investigations in China, 288 suspects have been nabbed overseas. A total of 84 suspects were seized from developed countries such as the US, Canada, Japan and Belgium, the Xinhua News Agency reported on November 17. Others came from nations like Thailand and South Korea. December 1 is the deadline for escaped economic crime suspects to surrender themselves for a lenient punishment, Chinese authorities announced in October. Due to a lack of understanding of China's legal system, said Xu, countries like the US and Canada were "passive" in signing extradition treaties with China. The two North American nations are prime destinations for corrupt officials, and extradition has always been difficult. Experts in international law say that repatriating suspects by resorting to other legal methods will be laborious. "The major problem is that both methods require lots of evidence the Chinese government will find very difficult to collect, because the suspects have already covered their tracks in most cases," Huang Feng, director of the Institute for International Criminal Law at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times. Many fugitives fled to North America using counterfeit identity documents, which is why China is able to appeal to authorities on the grounds that the fugitives are illegal immigrants, Huang said. [...] ^ top ^

Secret meeting between German politician and Ai Weiwei violated protocol: analyst (Global Times)
2014-11-27
The secret meeting between a visiting German politician and dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Sunday in Beijing is a clear violation of the diplomatic code of conduct and was arranged for the politician's personal agenda, analysts said. Margarete Bause, a leader of the Green Party in the Bavarian Parliament, arranged a secret meeting with Ai Weiwei on Sunday while she was visiting Beijing as a member of an official delegation led by Horst Seehofer, minister-president of Bavaria. According to Der Spiegel, Bause arranged the meeting through a personal friend, without notifying either Seehofer or the Chinese government. Der Spiegel said that Bause's move was driven out of curiosity of the artist and was meant to remind Seehofer of the importance of human rights issues. She and Ai Weiwei allegedly talked for an hour. "Bause's move has clearly violated the code of diplomatic conduct since she was on an official trip. Her behavior showed no respect to the host country China nor to her delegation leader," an analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times. German media described the meeting "a slap on the face" of Seehofer and said Bause had sabotaged Seehofer's plan to leave a good impression on China. It was reported that Seehofer was upset by Bause's behavior. After meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday, he allegedly blamed Bause, saying that her behavior was "too relaxed." "Bause has her own political agenda. Meeting with Ai will help her career, a behavior shaped by Germany's political environment," said the analyst. Marcus Bleinroth, the German Embassy spokesperson in Beijing, told the Global Times that the embassy does not comment on the event. "[Margarete Bause] organized the meeting with Ai Weiwei through private channels, so it's her private business," Bleinroth said, adding that she is not from Seehofer's party. However, the spokesperson believes that Seehofer's visit was successful as he had met both Premier Li and Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang. Ai Weiwei could not be reached for comment as of press time. ^ top ^

Top Chinese legislator pledges stronger partnership with Mexico (Xinhua)
2014-11-27
Visiting top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang vowed on Wednesday to build a stronger all-around partnership with Mexico during a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, first conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's regards to Pena, who visited China earlier this month. Zhang highlighted the important consensus between Xi and Pena on deepening China-Mexico all-round cooperation. "My visit to Mexico is to implement the two presidents' consensus on legislature and provide legal guarantee and public support for the development of bilateral relations," Zhang said. As both China and Mexico are big developing countries and major emerging economies, they have great common interests and boast a promising prospect for cooperation, Zhang said. He called on both sides to take a long-term view and deepen cooperation in politics, trade and economy and people-to-people exchanges. Zhang urged the two countries to firmly support each other on issues concerning the core interest and of major concern, work more closely in big projects in infrastructure, energy and high-tech and expand friendly exchanges in education, science and technology and culture in a bid to lift China-Mexico all-round strategic partnership to a new high. He called Mexico as a Latin American power with great influence, pledging China's commitment to work with Mexico to make good preparations for the first ministerial meeting of the forum between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, scheduled to take place in Beijing next year. The Chinese top legislator called on the two countries to work together to cement China-Latin America all-round partnership, which features equality, mutual benefit and common development. Pena said his China visit two weeks ago is a great success and builds Mexico's confidence and determination to cement ties with China. Mexico admires China's remarkable achievements and would like to learn from China, Pena said. The president underscored Mexico's commitment to becoming China's trustworthy partner and working with China to improve legal and system framework for bilateral cooperation. Pena said Mexico supports the cooperation between China and Latin America as a whole and would like to make positive contributions. Zhang's trip is the first ever visit to Mexico by a top Chinese legislator since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1972. China is Mexico's second largest trading partner. China-Mexico trade hit 39.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, according to Chinese customs figures. Mexico is the last leg of Zhang's ongoing nine-day Latin America tour, which has taken him to Peru and Colombia. ^ top ^

Dialogue resumes on new maritime liaison (China Daily)
2014-11-28
After years of almost complete silence, Chinese and Japanese defense authorities resumed talks on establishing a maritime liaison mechanism to reduce the risk of an accident in the air or at sea, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. Observers said there is guarded optimism that both countries could sign an agreement on the mechanism in the near future, if Tokyo is able to uphold the four-point agreement reached earlier this month on handling and improving bilateral relations. […] The two nations' defense ministries "are carrying out consultations" and pushing ahead with the establishment of the liaison mechanism, he said in Beijing. In June 2012, defense authorities in both countries agreed in principle on a set of measures, such as setting up a hotline and unifying radio frequencies for warships and planes around the Diaoyu Islands, Kyodo News reported. However, they have yet to enforce the measures, given that the Sino-Japanese relationship plunged after Tokyo's illegal nationalization of the islands. The restart of negotiations came just weeks after Beijing and Tokyo reached a major breakthrough by announcing a four-point agreement in which Japan, for the first time, acknowledged the existence of a dispute over the islands. Geng said the contents of the four-point agreement are "very clear", and he urged Japan to observe it and properly deal with sensitive issues. China and Japan currently have no divergence on establishing better liaison, and they are likely to sign a maritime liaison mechanism agreement if conditions are ripe, Qian Lihua, former director of the Defense Ministry's Foreign Affairs Office, said last week. Jiang Xinfeng, an expert on Japanese studies at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said the restarted talks are likely to yield a result, as both countries need the liaison platform and need to prevent accidents and conflicts. Shen Shishun, an Asia-Pacific studies researcher at the China Foundation for International Studies, said the countries should create conditions to establish the mechanism, or at least keep the status quo and avoid actions that could escalate. It will take time to see whether Japan takes concrete steps to uphold and implement the four-point agreement, Shen said. Japan protested after a fleet of China Coast Guard vessels recently patrolled territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that the vessels were performing their duty in exercising sovereignty in accordance with the law. She urged the Japanese to refrain from saying or doing anything that would undermine China's sovereignty. ^ top ^

Beijing says it has ensured stability with air defence zone (SCMP)
2014-11-28
Beijing's controversial air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea has ensured safety and security, the Defence Ministry said yesterday, dismissing criticism that it had exacerbated regional tension. Analysts said that despite occasional showdowns, there had not been any major conflict between China and Japan since Beijing unilaterally announced the zone a year ago. But a flare-up could still occur if Beijing decided to apply its rules for the zone more forcefully, possibly step by step over time, one analyst said. Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly press briefing that China had strengthened its surveillance of foreign aircraft over the East China Sea since the zone's establishment. "Over the past year, we have maintained airborne safety and stability over the East China Sea, and safeguarded order in the area," he said. But Geng sidestepped questions on whether Beijing would announce a similar zone for the South China Sea, which is at the centre of other long-running disputes between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbours. "We are confident about the overall stability of the South China Sea and our relationship with neighbouring countries," Geng said. Beijing announced the East China Sea zone on November 23 last year and required aircraft flying through the area to give notification of their nationality and flight plans. [...] Zhang Baohui, a security specialist at Lingnan University, said the repercussions from the zone's declaration were less serious than expected, even though both nations had sent more aircraft and vessels to the region. "We haven't seen any large-scale incidents or collisions, and it seems that the zone has had no serious impact on other nations," Zhang said. Mathieu Duchatel, head of the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Beijing had not fully enforced the rules of the zone, such as the notification requirement, but it might apply the rules more forcefully in the future. "I think that, step by step, there will be more enforcement in the future," Duchatel said. "In the short term, both sides are serious about crisis management and this will help keep tensions at a low level." ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Leak of internal Party file against the law (Global Times)
2014-11-21
Former journalist Gao Yu was on trial Friday in Beijing for "providing state secrets to an overseas organization." Western media and human rights organizations pointed their fingers at the Chinese authorities, accusing them of human rights violations and saying that Gao's case is against China's latest claim that it is pursuing the rule of law. Gao denied the prosecution's allegations in court, and no ruling was given Friday, Reuters reported. Gao used to be a journalist with the China News Service in the 1980s. She was jailed in 1989 and released the following year. In 1993, she was sentenced to six years in jail for leaking state secrets to overseas media. She was arrested again earlier this year for sending the full text of a classified document of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee to a foreign website. Little criticism from the West pointed to the crime itself, but declared that Gao's sending the document is "freedom of speech." This is ridiculous from the angle of law. Ask any ordinary Chinese people whether it is a crime to obtain a central government document through illegitimate means, key in the content to a computer, and send it to an overseas website. Most people will answer yes. Would a normal Chinese people do this? Few would dare. But Gao did. She already experienced a jail term for leaking state secrets. She knew the legal consequences of her act. The leaked file was about the Party leadership's latest policies concerning ideology. It was political content at the center of ideological disputes between China and the West. The Western media argued that the document Gao sent out should not be classified as state secrets, and that China's definition of state secrets could become a trap of human rights violations. This argument is lame. Unpublished documents made by the CPC Central Committee are state secrets as clearly defined in the country's Law on State Secrets Protection. The central committee drafts documents and policies, and decides whether it will pass the documents within the Party or to the whole public. It is China's way of running the country. Whether this practice needs any change or not, it is up to China. The West has been paying much attention to Gao's case. This seems to be a golden chance to smear China's image and spread the Western values in a perfect frame: a 70-year-old veteran journalist has been arrested for "practicing freedom of speech." This case is another example of profound ideological conflicts between China and the West. But the hyping of Gao's case will not score much for the West. The Chinese public is clear about the motive behind the West's actions. ^ top ^

5 dead, 54 injured in southwest China quake (Xinhua)
2014-11-23
Five people were killed and 54 others injured after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit a heavily Tibetan region of southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday. The quake struck at 4:55 p.m. Saturday, with the epicenter measured at the Tagong Prairie, Kangding County, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. A total of 25,000 houses were damaged, affecting about 79,500 people and forcing 6,200 to relocate, according to the Garze prefecture government. […] Among the injured, six were in critical condition and another five suffering severe injuries. The remaining 43 people sustained minor injuries, including 19 primary school pupils who got hurt in a stampede, said a publicity official at Kangding county, correcting the previous count of 42. Within 9 hours, emergency services were able to successfully rescue all those injured after the earthquake. Eleven medical teams have reached the quake zone, and nearly 10,000 medical and epidemic prevention personnel have joined the rescue efforts. In hard-hit Duola Village, relocated villagers are sheltered in tents and have been given quilts and instant noodles. Mobile communication has also been restored with the help of telecommunication vehicles. Rescuers said all residents in the epicenter would spend this night in tents. […] The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, on Sunday morning prayed for the quake zone. He wished people there could soon walk out of the shadow of the quake and lives quickly return to normal. ^ top ^

Video websites strip content (Global Times)
2014-11-24
Yyets.com, one of China's leading websites providing crowdsourced subtitles and video resources to Web users, announced on Saturday that it has been temporarily shut down and is "clearing [its] content." Shooter.cn, another website collecting and providing free subtitles for foreign movies and TV series, also announced its closure on Saturday. The identity of the department behind the shutdowns and their motives have not been revealed yet. But some experts speculated that the move might be related to pressure from copyright authorities. In late October, yyets.com announced on its Sina Weibo account that "due to copyright pressures," it would completely eliminate all links to resources lacking a copyright by the end of November, reported news portal thepaper.com.cn. The website suggested visitors turn to overseas websites to find said resources. But the post was quickly deleted. The closure of the two popular websites has generated mounting complaints from Web users, saying that it ruins their chances to see their favorite overseas movies and TV series. More than 51 million users joined a discussion on the topic of "good bye to US TV series" on Sina Weibo, as of press time. "The authorities' move was meant to strengthen copyright protection regulations, as providing free downloads of movies and subtitles fostered the spread of piracy," Zhuang Xihai, a former TV host and a producer and now a professor at the Southwest University in Chongqing, told the Global Times. Yyets was included in a blacklist of websites providing downloads of pirated works released by the US-based Motion Picture Association of America in October. Zhao Zhanling, legal counsel with the Internet Society of China, told the Global Times that now in China only the movie channel of China Central Television is legally allowed to purchase overseas films and TV series, according to the regulations of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). [...] Zhao said the regulator had previously not strictly enforced regulations against video streaming websites buying the rights to overseas films and TV series. But with the latest closures of the two websites, as Shanghai-based China Business News reported, the regulation of online video is becoming stricter, and commercial websites like Youku and Sohu that have bought a number of overseas TV series may see some of their content deleted. […] ^ top ^

China's haze directly linked to gaseous pollutants from traffic, industrial emissions: study (Global Times)
2014-11-25
Severe air pollution in Beijing and other Chinese cities might be directly related to gaseous pollutants rather than particles emitted from urban transportation and regional industry, researchers from China and the United States said Monday. Photochemical oxidation of gaseous pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), is primarily responsible for the formation of a large amount of fine particulate matter (PM), called secondary particles, during China's severe haze pollution events, the researchers said. The contribution from primary emissions and regional transport of PM, known as primary particles, is small, they reported in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and China Ministry of Science and Technology, was co-led by Prof. Renyi Zhang at Texas A&M University and Prof. Hu Min from Peking University. […] "We find in our study that the conditions in Beijing are prone to PM formation, because of highly abundant condensable gases," Zhang said. "Emissions of VOCs, NOx from urban transportation and SO2 from regional industry trigger aerosol nucleation and continuous growth over multiple days, leading to particle mass exceeding several hundred micrograms per cubic meter." The efficient aerosol formation process in Beijing is distinct from that occurring in many other urban centers, the team noted, saying it can explain why the haze in China's capital forms so quickly and severely. On the other hand, the particle chemical compositions measured in Beijing are quite similar to those commonly measured in other global regions, consistent with the chemical constituents dominated by secondary particles, the team said. The study also found that meteorology appears to play a key role in the amount and severity of pollution. "We found that Beijing's PM episodes occur on a periodic cycle, which is largely driven by wind variations," Zhang said. "When the wind is shifted from the south, that's when trouble starts because most of the factories and power plants are located in the southern region. Under reactively stagnant conditions, the gaseous pollutants from city traffic and surrounding industry react in the air, locally producing a large amount of PM." The haze problem appears to be more intense in fall and winter months because it rains more in summer and that tends to clean the air by washing out the particles, Zhang noted. The team also believed that Beijing's pollution is likely representative of other urban areas in China. "Our results imply that reductions in emissions of aerosol precursor gases, i.e., VOCs and NOx from transportation and SO2 from regional industrial (such as power plants and manufacturing) sources, are critical for remediation of the severe urban and regional haze pollution in China," the team wrote. "On the contrary, we suggest that an effort to solely control emissions of primary particles is unlikely to be effective." ^ top ^

PLA opens bidding to lower costs (China Daily)
2014-11-26
The People's Liberation Army is inviting private enterprises to bid on its training-related contracts, an unprecedented move to optimize the military budget and boost participation of the private sector. The PLA General Staff Headquarters recently published 108 military items for "advanced training technologies and equipment", encouraging private companies to take part in their research, development and manufacturing. The move indicates that the military is moving away from a monopoly of State-owned defense contractors in training logistics and lowering the eligibility threshold for military procurement, PLA Daily reported on Monday. It said that as the PLA makes its combat exercises more realistic, training technologies and equipment have become increasingly incapable of meeting the military's requirements, so it is necessary to tap into private businesses' expertise. The 108 items being sought include dummies used by medical personnel and simulators for early warning planes and aircraft carrier operators. Cutting-edge technologies such as short-distance wireless positioning and cloud computing are also on the list. "These public procurements are unprecedented in their openness, transparency and wide coverage. They will help lift the effectiveness of our military spending and optimize resource distribution, thus boosting the PLA's modernization drive," the newspaper quoted an unidentified officer from the PLA General Staff Headquarters' training logistics bureau as saying. According to PLA Daily, 117 defense industry companies and private enterprises have submitted proposals covering 106 of the 108 procurements. […] Public procurement will enable private enterprises to use their advanced technologies and products to better serve the PLA's needs and help reduce the military's development and testing costs, said Ding Feng, an expert at the Civil-Military Integration Equipment Research Institute in Beijing. However, enterprises that want to access the defense market must undergo sophisticated review and approval procedures, which are generating obstacles for those unfamiliar with the field. In addition, as PLA procurement officers usually pass on new demands to State-owned defense contractors, private companies will have fewer opportunities to make a deal, Ding said. […] ^ top ^

Goal to cut emissions can be met, official says (China Daily)
2014-11-26
The recent landmark climate agreement with the United States is a win for both sides and will inject positive energy into the upcoming global climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru, early next month, a top climate official said. Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China is confident of meeting its 2030 goals for a peak in carbon dioxide emissions and lifting the share of non-fossil fuel to around 20 percent of energy use. China will make the goals legally binding by incorporating them into the next three Five-Year Plans, Xie said at a news conference on Tuesday. He said China aims to cut its 2020 carbon intensity - the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of GDP - by 45 percent from the 2005 level. "No matter what difficulties we are going to encounter, those commitments must be honored," Xie said. [...] "As a developing country, China will adopt ambitious actions after 2020 in light of its national circumstances," said Xie. China will submit a package to the UN early next year outlining the country's actions for post-2020. Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2013 were 28.5 percent lower than the 2005 level. That is equivalent to a cumulative reduction of 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the 2014 China's Policies and Actions on Climate Change, released on Tuesday. China's carbon intensity dropped 5 percent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier, and its energy intensity - the amount of energy use per unit of GDP - fell by 4.6 percent. Xie, also head of the Chinese delegation in next month's UN climate change talks in Lima, called for all nations to review their climate change targets. [...] Su Wei, director-general of the Climate Change Department under the National Development and Reform Commission, said a nationwide market for trading carbon credits will be put into operation in 2016. "There will be a long process for exploring and making improvements. We hope a relatively mature carbon market will be formed by 2020," Su said at the news conference. Seven pilot regions including Shenzhen, Beijing and Tianjin traded a combined 13.75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide credits by the end of October, totaling 500 million yuan. [...] ^ top ^

Beijing auditors inspect management of national lotteries after transparency fears (SCMP)
2014-11-28
A surprise audit has been launched of state lottery funds around the country that generate billions of yuan each year, amid fears that cash may have been misused. The inspections by the National Audit Office came after investigations uncovered "accounting irregularities" at local lottery organisations, the state newspaper Economic Information Daily reported yesterday. Eighteen special teams under the National Audit Office, together with officials from the organisation's headquarters, had each been assigned a province to investigate in the month-long exercise, the newspaper said, citing staff involved in the inspections. Regional auditors, who regularly check the books of local government organisations, had been excluded from the exercise. An unnamed local auditor told the newspaper that the national review was "very significant" as it had come out of the blue and was not among national auditors' scheduled annual inspections. The report did not mention which 18 provinces or areas would be included in the financial investigations, which started in the middle of this month. There are two official nationwide lotteries, overseen by the Ministry of Finance. A lottery set up by the Ministry of Civil Affairs raises money for social welfare projects, while another organised by the General Administration of Sport helps fund sports development. Sales of lottery tickets generated more than 312 billion yuan (HK$394 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 24 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Finance. One investigation into the welfare lottery fund in Shandong province announced last year showed that 61 million yuan of funds had been misused to pay salaries and allowances to staff and former employees, according to a report by the Qilu Evening News. Finance ministry data shows that Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang and Hebei are among the top provinces for lottery ticket sales. Wang Yongjun, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, said the audit would help improve the management of the lottery industry. "Lottery funds have been a major source of income for some local governments," the Economic Information Daily quoted Wang as saying. "There have always been hidden risks in the management and distribution of lottery funds in local government so it is reasonable to launch a large-scale audit inspection to help improve the management and understanding of the use of lottery funds," he said. ^ top ^

China's local government debt in spotlight (China Daily)
2014-11-28
While the huge amount of local government debt in China has been making headlines for several years, some have questioned the legal guarantee for those debts to be paid off. Donald Clarke, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said bond buyers have to know that local government guarantees in those years are legally worthless because the governing bodies are not allowed to do that under Chinese law. Clarke pointed out that in some cases prospectuses have explicitly said that local government will not offer any guarantee for the repayment, but those are often overlooked by lenders. "So bond buyers are told in the prospectus that if bond buyers are not paid off, they will not be paid," Clarke said at a talk at George Washington University on Tuesday. The borrowers who Clarke described are known as local government financing vehicles (LGFVs). Since local governments are prohibited from borrowing, they rely a lot on off-budget mechanisms to finance priority projects. As a result, they usually set up wholly owned corporations to raise money for infrastructure and other local projects. These LGFVs, of which there are more than 10,000 in China, are responsible for some 40 percent of the local government debt and contingent liabilities. According to the National Audit Office, total local government debt and contingent liabilities in China shot up to 17.89 trillion yuan (about $3 trillion) as of June 30, 2013, up about 70 percent from the 10.7 trillion yuan (about $1.8 trillion) at the end of 2010. In Beijing on Wednesday, Bai Chongeng, vice-dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, told a conference that some local governments have offered certain guarantees, or the market believes the governments have offered guarantee for the borrowing. "So it's unclear whether it's the responsibility of the local governments or LGFVs to pay them back," he told a conference organized by Caijing magazine. He emphasized the importance to first sort out the responsibility for the large amount of debts. At the conference, Yin Zhongqin, vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress, the legislature, stressed the high risk of local government debts because they were raised through local government platforms that bypassed relevant laws and were often raised through local banks or by mortgaging the land. Yin said that if strict financial rules were applied, some local governments already would have lost their ability to borrow more to repay the debt. "According to the market rules, some local governments have already gone bankrupt," he said. [...] ^ top ^

Mining tragedies point to persistent problems in safety (China Daily)
2014-11-28
At least 11 people were killed on Thursday in China's second deadly coal mine accident in two days. The tragedies point to continuing safety issues in the industry despite a major decline in deaths among miners in recent years. Xinhua News Agency said 19 people were working at a mine in Guizhou province when an explosion ripped through the shaft early in the morning. Ten workers died underground, while nine made it to the surface and were taken to a hospital, where one of them died. There was no immediate word on the condition of the eight survivors. Xinhua said the cause of the blast at the Songlin mine in the town of Songhe is being investigated. The mine's phone number isn't listed and phone calls to government and work safety commission offices in Songhe and the nearby city of Liupanshui were not answered. Thursday's blast follows an explosion and fire early on Wednesday in Liaoning province that killed 26 miners. Another 50 miners were injured in the disaster, which happened at a complex run by State-owned Fuxin Coal Corp. Despite the generally better safety reputation of State-owned mines, a number of deadly accidents have struck Fuxin's mines in recent years, including an explosion in 2005 that killed 214 people. A campaign to improve safety has lowered death tolls from accidents considerably in recent years. Just over 1,000 deaths from 604 coal mining accidents were reported in 2013, down from more than 6,000 a year a decade ago. At the same time, demand for coal has plateaued as the economy slows from the headlong rush of the past decade. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing considers permanent odd-even ban on vehicles after success of 'Apec blue' (SCMP)
2014-11-27
The Beijing municipal government will discuss the feasibility of permanently banning vehicles from the roads on alternating days based on their number plates, after a relatively successful test drive earlier this month. The Chinese capital earlier this month concluded a 10-day ban restricting roughly half of private vehicles from the roads during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting. The ban, which restricted cars on alternate days based on whether the last digit of their number plates are odd or even, had helped to effectively ease traffic and bring down air pollution. “The public has voiced various positive feedbacks on the prohibitions of vehicles from the roads on alternative days, proposing it to become a norm, including on weekends,” said Beijing Executive Vice-Mayor Li Shixiang, according to the official party newspaper People's Daily. The government would hold panels to discuss the proposal, according to Li, who was speaking at the Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Regional Economic Development Forum. But he said the decision was not yet final. “We cannot respond without studying or discussing” the proposal, he was quoted as saying. [...] Environmental authorities on Tuesday night issued a yellow air pollution alert, which means there is heavy to severe pollution between one to three days. The capital's official average AQI stood at 292 at 5pm Wednesday - the second most serious on a six-level scale. The reading released by the US embassy reached 380, or the worst "hazardous" level. Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau broadcast the smog is expected to ease on Thursday and Friday before worsening again on Saturday. [...] A poll conducted by a research centre ran by newspaper Global Times after the Apec summit found that little more than half of roughly 1,000 Beijing residents polled endorsed the idea of prolonging the vehicle ban on alternative days. But opponents of the idea argued that restricting private cars is not the sole factor that contributed improved air quality. In fact, more than 4,000 factories in Beijing's surrounding Hebei province were ordered to close temporarily, with about half of coal-fired power generators shut down, the South China Morning Post earlier reported. [...] The Beijing government is devoting 800 billion yuan (HK$1.01 trillion) in a five-year plan unveiled a last year to grapple with air pollution. Its measures include cutting down coal use, restricting vehicles on the road and reducing factory emissions. [...] ^ top ^

Beijing to increase public transportation fare prices next month (Global Times)
2014-11-27
Beijing's municipal government has said the planned price hike for the capital's public transportation system will go into effect on December 28. Under the new pricing scheme, for a single journey on the city's subway, the fare for a trip of no more than six kilometers is three yuan ($ 0.49). Traveling a distance between six and 12 kilometers will cost a passenger four yuan. Beyond that, one yuan per 10 kilometer will be added to the total fare for a single subway trip spanning between 12 and 32 kilometers. If the distance of a single subway trip goes beyond 32 kilometers, the passenger will be charged one additional yuan for every 20 kilometers traveled. There is no price ceiling for how much a single-journey fare can cost. As for buses, the price starts at two yuan ($0.33) for the first 10 kilometers. One more yuan will be charged for every five kilometers traveled beyond 10 kilometers. When traveling by bus, public transportation card holders get 50 percent off a single-journey fare, while student carrying transportation cards will get 75 percent off bus fare for a single trip. Also, passengers who spend 100 yuan within a month on public transportation will enjoy a 20 percent discount on exceeded fare prices up to 150 yuan. After reaching 150 yuan, they will see fare prices cut by 50 percent for the exceeded part. Fare prices are reverted back to their original amount at the start of the next month. Currently, the city's subway fare is two yuan for a single journey, no matter the distance. The fare for the majority of Beijing's buses is one yuan, but card holders get a 60-percent discount on bus fares. The new fare system was created during a city government hearing two months ago. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Massive Himalayan hydropower dam comes on stream in Tibet (SCMP)
2014-11-25
Tibet's biggest ever hydropower project has begun generating electricity, state-run media reported, the latest dam developed on Himalayan rivers to prompt concern in neighbouring India. The first generating plant at the 9.6 billion yuan (HK$12.1 billion) Zangmu Hydropower Station, which stands more than 3,300 metres above sea level, went into operation on Sunday, Xinhua said. The dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River, known as the Brahmaputra in India where it is a major waterway, will be 116 metres high when completed next year, according to reports. It will have a total generating capacity of 510,000 kilowatts. "The hydropower station will solve Tibet's power shortage, especially in the winter," Xinhua quoted an official from Tibet Electric Power Company as saying. India has previously expressed concern about damming the Brahmaputra, one of the largest Himalayan rivers and a lifeline to some of India's remote, farm-dependent northeastern states. India's Foreign Ministry last year urged China "to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas" of the river after state media reports that China planned several more dams there. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said yesterday that New Delhi had been aware the dam was "coming up". "The Chinese have told us that it should have no implications for us," he said. Dam construction in China has been blamed for reduced flow and sudden flooding on the Mekong River, which flows into Southeast Asia, claims Beijing has denied. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters: "The hydropower stations China builds will not affect the flood prevention and ecological system of downstream areas." ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Report outlines regional terror crackdown (China Daily)
2014-11-25
One-hundred fifteen terrorist cells were eliminated in the past six months in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, stopping most terrorist attacks before they could be undertaken, local media reported. Xinjiang Daily reported the region's work since a yearlong crackdown on terrorism was launched on May 23. Authorities said the campaign, which will run through June, involved "extremely tough measures and extraordinary methods" after a bloody attack in Urumqi, the capital, left 39 people dead on May 22. Xinjiang, the main anti-terrorism battlefield, is endangered by separatism, religious extremism and terrorism, the top issues undermining the region's stability, the report said. So far, the region has dealt with 44 cases involving explosives instruction via the Internet, 294 cases related to the distribution of violent audiovisual materials and four cases relating to the spread of rumors. During the effort, 171 religious training sites were shut down, and 238 people who arranged training facilities were detained. Governmental legal departments, together with the region's cultural, industrial and commercial departments, strengthened the monitoring of illegal publicity in an effort to cut the spread of religious extremism at its source, according to the report. More than 18,000 documents, 2,600 discs and 777 storage devices related to religious extremism were seized. The police intensified efforts to find the instigators and masterminds behind the scenes, the report said. About 40 percent of the total 115 terror cells eliminated were found through the clues that authorities got during intensive inquests of detained suspects, officials with the regional anti-terrorism office said. Meanwhile, the regional public security department hunted for fugitives nationwide. So far, 334 fugitives have been detained. On May 24, the regional public security bureau, the high court and the procuratorate jointly issued a notice saying that Xinjiang's legal authorities will harshly punish those involved in terrorist activities and suggested that the criminals plead guilty. As a result, 52 suspects and fugitives turned themselves in. The courts in the region also went after individuals who share knowledge of explosives and who illegally cross the national border. The legal departments followed the law while trying the suspects, the report said, addressing issues that arose during prosecution. For instance, the Tian'anmen attack case was sent back for a supplementary investigation in the prosecution period before it was tried in Urumqi in June. Local residents' cooperation has contributed to the anti-terrorism work. In July, nearly 30,000 villagers joined in the capture of fugitives suspected of terrorism in Moyu, Hotan prefecture. The government of Xinjiang announced rewards of about 300 million yuan ($48.9 million) for all the participants. ^ top ^

Ilham Tohti's seven students almost certain to receive jail terms, rights lawyer says (SCMP)
2014-11-26
Seven minority students stood trial on separatism charges yesterday for working on a website run by their prominent Uygur teacher in Urumqi in Xinjiang , a rights lawyer said. Li Fangping , a defence lawyer for economics professor Ilham Tohti, said at least three students pleaded not guilty and the court was expected to issue its verdicts at a later date. Li said the students were certain to be found guilty by the same court that sentenced their teacher - who was known for his criticism of the government and its ethnic policy - to life imprisonment in September. The students are accused of being members of the professor's criminal gang. "The question is how many years these students will be jailed," Li said. "But we don't expect it will be as long as their teacher." Repeated calls to the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court in Xinjiang, where Tohti was convicted, were unanswered. The court provided no information on the students' trials on its official website or social media. William Nee, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, said the government was going after the students as part of its persecution of Tohti. The students were secretly taken into police custody earlier this year and were held incommunicado before several of them gave incriminating testimonials against the teacher on national television, raising concerns whether they were getting a fair trial, Nee said. Family members of the students also have been hushed, he said. "The irregularities and abuse of law in this case has turned China's rule of law on its head," he said. Li said the students were charged for their involvement with the Uygur Online website, which the government has shut down. Some also were accused of attending religious meetings in Hong Kong, Li said. At least three students - Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat and Luo Yuwei - confessed on state television that, while working for Uygur Online, they were instructed by Tohti to run articles that could stir ethnic tensions. The other four students are Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin. All students except Luo - a member of the Yi minority - are Uygurs, Li said. ^ top ^

Xinjiang hires ex-soldiers to protect residents (Global Times)
2014-11-28
Urumqi in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will for the first time recruit 3,000 ex-soldiers to protect residential communities, a move observers said is aimed at coping with increased violence and terrorism. All soldiers who left the service this year, who are under the age of 30, are "against separatism and illegal religious activities" and have no criminal record can apply for the job, the capital city's Civil Affairs Bureau announced Thursday on its website. The soldiers have to undergo an application process, which includes a political examination and health check before being hired. Once they become community workers, they will be paid at least 3,000 yuan ($500) a month and given a local hukou, or residence certificate, the recruitment ad said. "The recruitment is a way to maintain stability as well as to help demobilized soldiers get a job," the announcement said. "This is the first time that we are employing ex-soldiers to maintain community stability," a male employee from the Civil Affairs Bureau, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Global Times. Observers said that the move reflected the authorities' determination to fight terrorism and separatism, which have become increasingly serious in Xinjiang in recent years. "The situation in Xinjiang is getting worse, and the government needs more people to prevent further riots from happening," Pan Zhiping, the director of the Research Institute of Central Asia at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. [...] The local police and military have increased their patrol in Urumqi and other areas prone to terror attacks. The governments are also mobilizing civil servants to boost exchanges with people at the grass-roots to reduce ethnic conflicts and monitor the spread of religious extremism. "Maintaining stability in communities is very significant, as violence and major terrorist activities start in local communities," Pan said. Demobilized soldiers of high political quality and military experience will be able to prevent groups from organizing violent and terrorist activities, Pan said. He added that most community workers in Xinjiang who patrol at night currently are women with no military experience. [...] ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Universal suffrage in 2017 will make history in HK democracy: spokesman (Xinhua)
2014-11-21
The Hong Kong chief executive election by universal suffrage in 2017 will be historic for the region's democracy development, a spokesman said on Friday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment after testimonies at a hearing organized by U.S. Congressional- Executive Commission on China (CECC) on Thursday indicated Hong Kong's democracy and freedom status has worsened. The rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents have been fully guaranteed since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. China's central government will firmly support Hong Kong's gradual development of a system of democratic governance in accordance with law, Hong said. "The central government sincerely hopes Hong Kong can realize chief executive election by universal suffrage in 2017. This will be historic progress in Hong Kong's democratic development," Hong said. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and its affairs are purely China's domestic affairs, Hong said, voicing opposition to any interference in HK affairs by foreign governments, institutions or individuals under whatever names to damage the region's stability. Under Hong Kong's Basic Law and the decision of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), more than 5 million qualified Hong Kong voters could have a say in who will become the chief executive in 2017 through the "one man, one vote" election, which was never realized under British colonial rule. ^ top ^

Occupy Central co-founders hold 'community dialogue day' (SCMP)
2013-11-24
Occupy Central's founders may have become less visible at the protest sites, but they have been planning ways to take the fight for democracy beyond the occupied zones – starting with a “community dialogue day” today. The news emerged after a three-hour discussion involving over 100 volunteers yesterday, which also addressed when or if the three co-founders, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Dr Chan Kin-man would turn themselves in to police. While Tai, Chu and Chan declined to comment, others said the trio favoured turning themselves in early next month, although no consensus was reached as some felt they should focus on doing the groundwork for democracy first. “Some were concerned that if they followed the trio and turned themselves in, they wouldn't be able to contribute … any more,” a volunteer said on condition of anonymity. Today, Occupy volunteers, students and pan-democrat lawmakers will be stationed at 21 locations across the city to share their views on universal suffrage. Ideas discussed yesterday included sending volunteers to knock on doors and set up street booths in neighbourhoods to explain more about democracy. Others involved encouraging people to patronise small shops instead of chain stores to break the economic dominance of conglomerates and developers. On his Facebook page yesterday, Tai slammed the government for “hiding behind the court” by relying on injunctions granted to private parties to clear the protest site. Meanwhile, Scholarism activist Wong Ting-wa was denied entry to the mainland at the Lok Ma Chau crossing. He is the student group's second member to be barred. Members of the Federation of Students were also blocked last week. Wong said two Shenzhen police officers took him to a room at the checkpoint, and held him for 45 minutes. He had had his details taken by police when he and others stormed a forecourt at government headquarters on September 26. A Baptist University student, an Occupy protester, was also blocked at the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint on Friday night. ^ top ^

Police fire pepper spray as 80 protesters arrested after Mong Kok clearance (SCMP)
2014-11-25
At least 80 protesters were detained yesterday amid clashes with police during the first round of court-ordered clearance operations in the Mong Kok protest zone. Police used pepper spray in a vain bid to clear Occupy protesters after opening part of Argyle Street and last night were locked in a tense confrontation with a crowd in nearby Nathan Road. Police said they would begin clearing the section of Nathan Road that is between Argyle Street and Dundas Street today. On the 59th day of the occupation, yesterday's removal of barricades from Argyle Street in enforcement of an injunction had been expected to go smoothly. But displaced protesters quickly moved to Portland Street and the one-way street, where barricades were cleared last month, was once again blocked. By nightfall, protesters had been pushed back to Nathan Road at the junction of Portland and Changsha streets. [...] Several journalists, including South China Morning Post photographer Sam Tsang Kwok-chung, claimed to have been pepper-sprayed by police while covering the day's incidents. Police Public Relations Branch Senior Superintendent Kong Man-keung said bailiffs had given repeated warnings "but interference was caused by those at the scene". He said bailiffs, in line with the injunction order, asked police for help and when warnings by officers were also ignored, they carried out "dispersion measures". About 7,000 police officers, split into two shifts, were sent to assist in the operation yesterday. Bailiffs took more than five hours to clear some of the barricades listed in the court injunction, opening up at least one lane of traffic on Argyle Street. But the scene became chaotic after officers tried to disperse protesters on an Argyle Street footpath outside the Langham Place shopping mall by pushing them into a narrow pavement on Portland Street and then trying to persuade them to leave. Clashes later broke out as hundreds of protesters faced off with baton and shield-wielding police on Portland Street. Police raised red warning flags and later fired pepper spray. Three officers were injured during the clashes. [...] Police said that as of 8pm, 80 people had been arrested, [...] A minibus drivers' group obtained the court injunction to remove road barricades on a small section of Argyle Street. The cleared section accounted for only a small portion of the occupied area, but is a crucial intersection. Another injunction has been granted to a taxi drivers' association for clearing the much longer Nathan Road. ^ top ^

Nathan Road cleared... for now (SCMP)
2014-11-27
About 6,000 police officers will be assigned to the cleared streets and nearby areas in Mong Kok until Sunday to prevent a reoccupation by protesters angered by removal tactics yesterday. Clashes erupted again in Mong Kok last night. From 10pm, hundreds of people made repeated attempts to reoccupy roads, hours after traffic on Nathan Road returned to normal following the two-month occupation by pro-democracy activists. There was pushing and shoving between the crowd and police. One man was left with a bloodied head and several people were subdued and taken away. Police reinforcements were sent in and red flags were raised warning people not to charge. A total of 148 protesters were arrested during the two-day operation in which the occupied area in nearby Argyle Street was reopened on Tuesday.The source said police would have 3,000 people on the ground at any time until Sunday, when a reassessment would be made. "The police will continue to make their best effort to prevent people from obstructing the road again," Chief Superintendent Steve Hui Chun-tak said. Occupiers said they were not deterred. "I will come back later. We cannot lose Mong Kok no matter what," Kumi Lam said. Those arrested yesterday included Wong Ho-ming of the League of Social Democrats, Joshua Wong Chi-fung of Scholarism and Szeto Tze-long and Lester Shum from Hong Kong Federation of students. They were arrested for various offences including contempt of court and obstructing police. [...] Alex Chow Yong-kang, of the Federation of Students, said his group felt the Occupy movement "still had energy", but further action would continue to embrace the principle of non-violence. Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit, Democrat Helena Wong Pik-wan, the Labour Party's Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and the Professional Commons' Charles Mok said they would not support any violence. ^ top ^

After Mong Kok clearance, students vow to target government buildings (SCMP)
2014-11-28
The Federation of Students has threatened to set its sights on government buildings in response to the police clearance of the Occupy camp in Mong Kok following violent overnight clashes. "The further actions include a possibility of some escalations pointed at government-related buildings or some government-related departments," federation core member Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok said yesterday. A possible target is said to be a footbridge leading to the government headquarters in Admiralty. At a meeting on Wednesday, pan-democrats and Occupy founders had advocated ending the occupation. A court hearing yesterday left a number of student leaders and activists unable to return to the cleared protest site in Kowloon, as the Occupy movement for universal suffrage entered Day 61. Thirty-one defendants - including Scholarism's Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the student federation's Lester Shum and the League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and Raphael Wong Ho-ming - faced charges at Kowloon City Court, mostly obstructing bailiffs. All disputed a condition, sought by the prosecution, that they be barred from re-entering an area in Mong Kok bound by Fa Yuen Street to the east, Dundas Street to the south, Shanghai Street to the west and Mong Kok Road to the north. They said it covered a wider area than specified in previous injunctions granted by the High Court. Shum's lawyer Alvin Yeung said it was "disproportionate". Leung, representing himself, said his freedom was reduced by five-fold as the new injunction area had increased by five times. Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen ruled all cases in the prosecution's favour. A total of 169 people were arrested during the two-day Mong Kok operation this week, including a 29-year-old customs officer on sick leave, who was held for possessing weapons and unlawful assembly in Nathan Road at about 11pm on Wednesday. [...] Last night, more than 100 people gathered in Sai Yeung Choi Street South. An Apple Daily video photographer was pushed to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested. He was the second journalist arrested in the Mong Kok operation, with a Now TV engineer who was held for assaulting police released yesterday. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said if people stopped occupying the streets, "we won't need to consider using an injunction" and police to restore order. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwanese voters test waters ahead of 2016 presidential poll (SCMP)
2014-11-28
Taiwanese politicians shouted slogans through loudspeakers and swept streets with brooms as they made last-ditch appeals to voters ahead of elections tomorrow. The polls - to decide a total of 11,130 seats in municipalities, counties, towns and villages - are being widely watched as an indicator of how voters will lean in the presidential election in 2016. Observers say an impressive victory by either the Kuomintang or Democratic Progressive Party would sharply increase their chances in two years' time. The KMT, which has been criticised over a series of perceived administrative shortcomings, including a tainted cooking oil scandal, is promising to fight for the economy, while the DPP is hoping to win over voters who want to "punish the KMT". "With such a poor showing, should we allow the Ma [Ying-jeou] government or the KMT to continue to administer Taiwan?" said DPP chairwoman Dr Tsai Ing-wen as she campaigned for a DPP candidate in the central county of Changhua. The KMT, which has controlled 15 of the 22 cities, counties and municipalities since the last local elections in 2010, has been fighting a tough battle since campaigning started last month. Some opinion polls have shown the KMT might lose Taipei city and Taichung city, which could hurt its chances in 2016. During a mass rally in Taipei yesterday, Ma called for unity from overseas Taiwanese returning to Taipei to vote. "Do we really want to lock ourselves up and ignore the tough competition from South Korea?" he asked. One of the most contentious issues has been the implementation of a semi-free-trade pact with the mainland. The DPP blocked its ratification, with wide public support, but the mainland recently completed free-trade talks with Seoul - Taiwan's key competitor. Ma also urged support for Sean Lien Sheng-wen, son of KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan, in his run for Taipei mayor. Opinion polls have Lien trailing his opponent, independent Dr Ko Wen-je, a surgeon, by at least 13 percentage points. Ko said he would seek to bridge the political divide by backing government executives, regardless of their political position, if they enjoyed wide public support. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Interest rate cuts tackle financing costs (China Daily)
2014-11-22
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank, announced on Friday the first interest rate cuts in more than two years. "The purpose of cutting the deposit and lending rate is to bring actual interest rates back to a proper level and lower the financing costs facing many enterprises," said a PBOC statement after the rate cut was announced. China's economy is still under pressure, problematic for businesses, especially smaller ones. "Tackling high financing burdens is especially important in stabilizing growth, creating jobs, and benefiting consumers," the statement said. The adjustment should provide a neutral and reasonable monetary environment for sustainable economic development. "China has done a lot to address corporate financing difficulties this year, such as cutting the reserve requirement ratio for certain banks, but cutting interest rates is the most direct way to bring down costs," said Wang Jun of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. UBS chief China economist Wang Tao said in a research note that the cut is an important step toward lowering of real borrowing costs. The central bank insists that the cuts are not a shift away from "prudent monetary policy", and the adjustment was a "neutral operation"; mere fine-tuning of monetary policy in line with changes in the real economy, which is still growing at a healthy rate. With industrial upgrades underway, the PBOC reckons growth is now more reliant on innovation than investment and "there is no need for strong stimulus." Jin Zhongxia, director of the PBOC research institute also calls the rate cut "neutral". "If the rates were not lowered with the economy under pressure, then one could argue that monetary policy is too tight," Jin said. The cuts came as GDP expanded 7.3 percent year on year in Q3, compared with 7.5 percent in Q2 and 7.4 percent in Q1. Q3 growth was the slowest since Q1, 2009. Wang Jun said that low consumer prices also provided room for the cuts. The consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, grew 1.6 percent year on year in October, the lowest for more than four years. The cuts, which took effect on Saturday, mean that the one-year deposit rate stands at 2.75 percent, while the one-year lending rate is at 5.6 percent. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing to step up tax evasion campaign after US multinational firm caught (SCMP)
2014-11-25
The mainland's first major case of cross-border tax evasion involving a large US multinational has been revealed by state media, with Xinhua saying Beijing would step up its fight against international tax evasion. The Hong Kong government would be expected to assist Beijing in stepping up the fight against cross-border tax evasion, Joe Chan, a partner at accounting firm EY, said. A US multinational had admitted tax evasion and its mainland subsidiary had agreed to pay the central government 840 million yuan (HK$1.06 billion) in back taxes and interest, as well as more than 100 million yuan in additional taxes a year in the future, Xinhua reported on Sunday. "Because the amount involved is huge and the impact is enormous, this case has been called China's first major anti-tax evasion case," it said. "This case highlights the common tactic of multinationals to avoid tax, by transferring profits through various countries, taking advantage of differences in their tax rates." The state news agency did not name the company, identified only as M, but said it was a "globally well-known company that has long been among the world's 500 biggest firms", headquartered in the US, and had established a wholly-owned foreign enterprise in Beijing in 1995. US software giant Microsoft did not reply to South China Morning Post inquiries about whether it was the company involved. The Fortune 500 company set up its wholly owned China subsidiary in Beijing in 1995. In 2012, the US Senate alleged Microsoft reduced its 2011 US tax payment by US$2.43 billion by using an international network of foreign entities and loopholes in US tax law. For six years, M accumulated losses totalling more than 2 billion yuan in China, yet its peers enjoyed a profit margin of more than 12 per cent in the Beijing market, Xinhua said. That prompted an investigation by the mainland tax authorities that found M's behaviour "unreasonable", Xinhua reported. The tax authorities were now looking into setting up a system to monitor the profits of multinationals, Xinhua said." [...] Hong Kong could be expected to cooperate with Beijing's efforts to combat international tax evasion because Hong Kong had a tax treaty with the mainland that included the exchange of tax information, Chan said. "There will be more requests from China for Hong Kong to provide tax information," he said. "Hong Kong is trying to give an image of transparency to the international community. Hong Kong cannot be regarded as a conduit to assist tax evasion." Hong Kong is a logical link for potential cross-border tax evasion, because many multinationals have factories on the mainland and offices in Hong Kong, Chan explained.^ top ^

China takes step forward in rate reform (SCMP)
2014-11-25
Beijing's interest rate cut may have effectively announced the failure of Premier Li Keqiang's targeted easing strategy to support the economy, but more importantly it signals the government's commitment to further interest rate liberalisation. The first rate cut since the new government took office two years ago could be a prelude to giving banks more freedom next year in setting prices, although the immediate effect on credit growth may be limited, analysts say. By doubling the ceiling for deposit rates and consolidating the categories of benchmark rates, the People's Bank of China has moved a step closer towards fully liberalising interest rates. If governor Zhou Xiaochuan's forecast in March was right, the day should come next year or by the end of 2016. "Along with the [yuan] internationalisation, reforms in financial areas are likely to be the biggest catalyst for the China market in 2015," said Macquarie Research analyst Larry Hu. It was likely that at some point next year, the mainland would fully liberalise benchmark deposit rates, Hu said. On Friday, the benchmark one-year lending rate was cut by 40 basis points to 5.6 per cent while the one-year deposit rate was lowered by 25 basis points to 2.75 per cent. But the central bank also raised the ceiling for deposit rates to 20 per cent above the benchmark from 10 per cent. The authorities are treading carefully in removing the remaining controls on interest rates as they seek to buffer banks from any drastic drop in interest rate margins, the biggest source of revenue for lenders. The Shanghai stock market and the H-share index rallied the most in a year yesterday following the rate cut as investors poured money into stocks from brokerage to property - sectors the most likely to benefit from lower capital costs. China Overseas Land & Investment, the biggest listed mainland developer in Hong Kong by assets, rose 11 per cent to HK$22.65, while Haitong Securities jumped 11.2 per cent to HK$15.92. The market's enthusiastic response to the rate cut was a sign of relief at Beijing's policy U-turn. "The latest rate cut is an admission of failure of the targeted approach," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note. Despite repeated liquidity injections by the central bank into select lenders and policy to guide loans towards small and rural firms, Li's so-called "drip irrigation", as opposed to "flood irrigation", has not been able to stem a downturn in economic growth, which cooled to a five-year low of 7.4 per cent in the third quarter and may slump below 7 per cent in the final quarter of the year. [...]^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korean student in Paris escapes kidnappers from Pyongyang (SCMP)
2014-11-23
A North Korean student with family ties to the regime escaped a kidnapping bid in Paris, where he was studying, and is now in hiding, a French source familiar with the case said yesterday. The architecture student, identified only as Han, escaped the abduction attempt at a Paris airport, where he was to be put on a plane for the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to speak publicly on the sensitive matter. The failed bid to capture Han occurred in the first week of November, and he had been in hiding since then, the person said. It was not immediately clear if French authorities had played a role in the escape, how many kidnappers were involved, or where they are now. Han is reportedly the son of an aide to the once powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was considered the country's second-most powerful man before he was executed last December on treason charges. South Korea's spy agency believed North Korea used a firing squad to execute several people close to the uncle, South Korean lawmaker Shin Kyung-min said in October after attending a closed-door agency briefing. Han has been attending L'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture at Belleville. He was presumably among 10 North Korean architecture students who came to France in 2012 in a second wave of an exchange. France and Estonia are the only two European countries that have not established formal diplomatic relations with North Korea. However, France and North Korea have opened offices of cooperation in each other's countries to deal mainly with cultural and humanitarian issues, and France accepts a limited number of North Korean students and interns. ^ top ^

DPRK leader's sister revealed as senior party official (Xinhua)
2014-11-27
Kim Yo Jong, the youngest sister of the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un, was revealed by state media as holding the post of vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). Kim Jong Un has recently given an on-site inspection to the Korean April 26 Cartoon Film Studio which was founded on the instruction of late leader Kim Il Sung in September 1957, the official KCNA news agency said Thursday. The report mentioned that he was accompanied by several high-ranking officials, including Kim Yo Jong, vice department director of the WPK Central Committee. She has accompanied her brother in field guidance activities before, but it is the first time that the DPRK's official media made public her position in the leadership. Other officials joining the inspection included Kim Ki Nam, party secretary and director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, and Ri Jae Il, first vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. Kim Yo Jong, the youngest in the family and said to be born in 1987, used to study at the prestigious Kim Il Sung University and tutored in English and French, according to South Korean media. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

The newly elected Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg is accredited by the President (infomongolia)
2014-11-21
On November 21, 2014, the Parliament of Mongolia ratified the 28th Prime Minister as Chimed SAIKHANBILEG following the two-week absence of Cabinet leadership used to chair by ousted former Premier N.Altankhuyag. Accordingly, the President Ts.Elbegdorj handed over the Government Stamp to newly elected Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg in the State Ceremonial Ger Palace. President Ts.Elbegdorj congratulated the newly accredited Prime Minister and noted, “I wish you the newly elected Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg success in your further works. I believe that you will intensively work in harmony with others to address the most pressing issues of the country, respecting the rule of law, accountability and ethics. Good luck”. At the ceremony, Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold, Deputy Prime Minister D.Terbishdagva and some Members of Parliament were also present and extended their congratulations to the 28th Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg. During the ratification at the plenary session of Parliament held today, the opposition force (Mongolian People's Party) did not attend the meeting and following the approval, they made an official statement citing that if the elected Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg adheres a correct policy, the MPP would support him, otherwise to raise an issue of responsibility. Moreover, MPP claimed not to join the newly to form Cabinet. According to law, the newly elected Prime Minister shall to form his Cabinet within 14 days. ^ top ^

Newly elected Prime Minister of Mongolia sends a request letter to form a Coalition Government (infomongolia)
2014-11-24
On November 21, 2014, Parliamentarian Chimed SAIKHANBILEG was elected as the 28th Prime Minister of Mongolia at the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament), who succeeds MP N.Altankhuyag. According to the affiliated law, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold obliged the newly elected Premier to form his Cabinet and submit names within two weeks from the day of accreditation. So today on November 24, 2014, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg sent a request letter to establish a Coalition Government to each political force having seats in the Parliament. The letter cites in order to recover the deteriorated economy shortly, Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg pledges to take immediate steps, furthermore, to renew all-level electoral rules by amending the Constitution of Mongolia that aims to strengthen equal-right parliamentary governance. Moreover, he urges to successfully implement big-scale projects such as Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi as well as other projects in mining, energy and infrastructure sectors by creating friendly investment environment that would attract interests of local and foreign firms. On the same day, the opposition political force (Mongolian People's Party) responded to the Letter stating that the issue of establishing a Coalition Government with ruling Democratic Party shall be considered at the MPP Board of Members-level meeting and then to submit to the Baga Khural (Lower Chamber) of MPP. Consequently, the MPP decided to form a working group with six members including U.Enkhtuvshin, N.Nomtoibayar, Yo.Otgonbayar, Ya.Sodbaatar and J.Enkhbayar, chaired by S.Batbold. If the MPP resolves to join the Coalition Government, these members would represent the MPP's position and jointly make decisions with DP and other parties. ^ top ^

Deputy Foreign Minister D.Gankhuyag receives the DPRK delegation (infomongolia)
2014-11-27
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation of Mongolia, Mr. D.Gankhuyag received North Korean delegation who participated in the "Dimension to Create Nuclear-Weapon Free Northeast Asia" International Conference organized by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in cooperation with the "Tsenkher Suld" NGO of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar on November 26-27, 2014. The North Korean delegates were headed by National Peace Committee Secreatry General, Mr. O Ryong-il, and during the meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister, sides shared view on issues on consolidating Mongolia-North Korea traditional friendly relations and cooperation, increasing the frequency of reciprocal top and high-level visits, and expanding bilateral collaboration at the Korean Peninsula and regional level. Deputy Minister D.Gankhuyag welcomed active participation of North Korea in activities carried out at various level within Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, stressing that Mongolia will take further efforts for building mutual trust and confidence between the regional countries and for solving any challenges to face through peaceful means. Mr. O Ryong-il introduced activities of the National Peace Committee (NPCK) of Korea and said NPCK has a great interest in cooperating with the Tsenkher Suld NGO and other international organizations for building peace and security in Northeast Asia and on Korean Peninsula, reports the Ministry. ^ 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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