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
  15-20.3.15, No. 564  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese, South African leaders exchange congratulations on launch of "Year of China" (Xinhua)
2015-03-15
Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma exchanged messages on Sunday, congratulating the launch of "the Year of China" in South Africa. Under the framework of "the Year of China" in South Africa, both China and South Africa will hold a series of wonderful activities on mutual exchanges in South Africa's nine provinces and major cities, which will open a new chapter for the people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and South Africa, Xi said in his congratulatory message. China is willing to join hands with South Africa to push for more achievements in the China-South Africa cooperation as well as the China-Africa cooperation, and bring more benefits to the Chinese and African peoples, Xi added. Zuma said in his congratulatory message that China and South Africa's hosting of the "country year" celebrations bear a historic significance in further boosting their bilateral ties. South Africa sincerely thanked China for supporting South Africa's staging "the Year of South Africa" in China in 2014, and it will fully support the running of "the Year of China" in South Africa in 2015, Zuma said. The South African president expected the event will fully display China's enormous achievements in history and culture as well as its national development. "The Year of China" in South Africa is to be officially launched on March 15, 2015. ^ top ^

China will protect borders says premier, after bomb from Myanmar warplane killed Chinese civilians (SCMP)
2015-03-16
Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that China would resolutely protect its borders after its military alleged that a stray bomb from a Myanmese aircraft killed five of its citizens. Li told a press conference at the end of the National People's Congress in Beijing that he was saddened by the deaths on Friday. "We have the responsibility and the capacity to firmly safeguard stability in the border area between the two nations and protect the life and property of our people," he said. In a statement released on its official microblog late on Saturday, the Yunnan provincial government said a Myanmese warplane dropped a bomb in a sugarcane field near Lincang on Friday, killing five people and injuring eight. Government forces in Myanmar are fighting ethnic rebels in the country's northern Kokang region. Mainland media reported that more than 60,000 refugees from Myanmar had fled to Yunnan during the conflict. A senior official in Myanmar's presidential office denied that one of its warplanes crossed China's border. The Associated Press reported the official as saying the deaths could have been the work of a group seeking to create confusion, and that radar data showed its aircraft did not stray into Chinese territory. Defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said warplanes from Myanmar had intruded "multiple times" and that the People's Liberation Army would take "decisive measures" should it happen again. Central Military Commission vice-chairman Fan Changlong told Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Myanmar's armed forces, on Saturday that the Myanmese military should "seriously control" its troops. "Otherwise, the Chinese military will take resolute measures to protect the safety of the Chinese people and their assets," Xinhua quoted Fan as saying. Beijing has scrambled Chinese fighter jets to track, monitor, warn and chase away Myanmese military planes that have flown close to the Chinese border. Zhou Xiaozhou, a National People's Congress deputy and an officer in the Chengdu regional military command, said the army along the border was on a state of higher alert. "Air and land forces have made preparations," he said. Li Guangcheng, a Yunnan deputy to the NPC, said the Chinese military should step up border protection. "More soldiers should be deployed to prevent our citizens from further dangers," he said. "Proper management should be put in place along the border to enable stability on our side no matter how chaotic the situation in Myanmar becomes." ^ top ^

Myanmar expresses regret over border bombing incident (Xinhua)
2015-03-16
Myanmar on Sunday openly responded for the first time to Friday's bombing incident across the Myanmar-China border which left five Chinese citizens dead and eight others injured in China's southwestern Yunnan province. According to Myanmar's state radio and TV, the government expressed regret over the incident, saying that Myanmar authorities are cooperating with the Chinese side through diplomatic channel to uncover the truth of the incident. A Myanmar delegation has entered the Chinese territory for a join investigation into the incident. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin summoned Myanmar Ambassador Thit Linn Ohn in Beijing Friday night, lodging solemn representations to him after a bomb dropped by a Myanmar warplane hit a sugarcane field in the border city of Lincang, Yunnan, killing five people and injuring eight others working there in the afternoon. Liu urged the Myanmar side to thoroughly investigate the case and inform the Chinese side of the result. Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Yang Houlan on Saturday also lodged the same urgent and solemn representation to the Myanmar government and military. Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Fan Changlong also urged Myanmar to punish the perpetrators and apologize to and compensate the families of the victims. ^ top ^

Australian green technology to be trialed in China (Xinhua)
2015-03-16
A new Australian technology that converts blast furnace waste into an ingredient for cement is being trialed for commercialization in China. Dry Slag Granulation (DSG) reduces water use and greenhouse gas emissions and is the focus of a partnership announced on Monday between the Australia's chief science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Beijing MCC Equipment Research & Design Corporation (MCCE). Moving the DSG technology to an industrial scale is a landmark for the Australia-China research collaboration and environmentally friendly metal production, according to the CSIRO director of the mineral resources flagship, Jonathan Law. "Our collaboration is an exciting step towards the uptake of an innovation with real prospects of transforming the productivity and environmental performance of global iron smelting," Law said. "The benefits from wide uptake of DSG technology on blast furnaces will be profound in helping the global industry to reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while sustaining metal production." The DSG technology that is fitted to blast furnaces includes a spinning disc and granulation chamber that separates molten slag into droplets under centrifugal forces, uses air to quench and solidify the droplets, and extracts a granulated slag product as well as heated air. The 'glassy' substance produced is ideal for cement manufacture, but has significantly lower associated greenhouse gas emissions than cement produced by conventional methods. Air at 500-600 degrees Celsius extracted from the DSG process can be used onsite for drying, preheating or steam generation. "DSG is just one of the CSIRO innovations in sustainable steel production and one of many solutions we have found for national and global challenges in the minerals industry," Law said. Law said the CSIRO looked forward to working closely with MCCE to bring DSG technology to full fruition. ^ top ^

Xi reaffirms China's support for European integration (Xinhua)
2015-03-16
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday reaffirmed support for European integration, expecting closer cooperation between China and the European Union (EU). Xi made the remarks as he met with European Parliament President Martin Schulz at the Great Hall of the People, saying the development of Europe was an important component of multi-polarization of the world. Recalling his visit to EU headquarters last spring, Xi said the two sides have been deepening their partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization. Xi said the two sides should consider the 40th anniversary of official EU-China diplomatic relations as a new starting point, and work together to increase political interactions and practical cooperation. During the meeting, Xi also briefed the guest on China's annual sessions of the legislative and political advisory bodies, which were convened in the past two weeks, as well as the work on formulating the country's 13th Five-Year Plan. For his part, Schulz said it is important for Europe and China to consolidate their relationship as they share many common interests and are faced with similar problems. Europe will work with China to boost practical cooperation and advance the partnership, Schulz said. ^ top ^

Xi scopes out new China-US relationship (Xinhua)
2015-03-17
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday looked forward to his state visit to the United States in September, eager to develop a new style of relationship between the two major countries. Xi was meeting with visiting Harvard President Drew Faust at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing when he recalled his talks with U.S.President Barack Obama in November last year when Xi outlined six priorities in relations with the United States. "People-to-people and cultural exchanges play a positive role in promoting the China-U.S. ties and have become a major pillar supporting the bilateral relationship in a new era," Xi said during the meeting with Faust. He said that the Chinese side valued cooperation with the United States on education and technology, praising the long and fruitful cooperation between Harvard and China. During the meeting, Xi also briefed the guest on China's annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. For her part, Faust said educational exchanges and cooperation help enhance understanding between the U.S and Chinese people and that Harvard would work with China's educational and technological sectors. ^ top ^

Chinese Vice Premier discusses bilateral cooperation with German Vice Chancellor (Xinhua)
2015-03-17
Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai held talks here with German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel on strengthening bilateral cooperation. During the talks on Sunday, both leaders gave a positive assessment of bilateral relations and practical cooperation in various sectors. Discussions focused on strengthening exchanges and cooperation in areas such as advanced manufacturing industry and innovation. Ma, who is representing China as the partner country of the high-tech trade fair CeBIT 2015, also visited the German reinsurance company Hannover Re as well as automobile manufacturer Volkswagen. CeBIT 2015 is a leading high-tech global trade fair taking place from March 16 to March 20, featuring more than 3,400 companies from 70 countries and regions showcasing thousands of innovations. More than 760 Chinese companies are also attending the fair with big firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba and Xiaomi to name a few, exhibiting their latest products and solutions. ^ top ^

Chinese FM discusses Myanmar in border province after bombing (Xinhua)
2015-03-17
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Yunnan province, which borders the conflict-hit Myanmar, on Monday to discuss with officials plans to protect the life and property safety of local Chinese, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. The meeting came after a bomb dropped by a Myanmar warplane killed four and injured nine others in Lincang city last week. "Wang and leading provincial officials exchanged views on the current situation and discussed ways to deal with it," the spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing, without giving more details. They studied ways to safeguard border peace, protect life and property safety for local Chinese, and overall bilateral ties, Yunnan Daily reported on Tuesday. The conflict in north Myanmar's Kokang region has lasted for more than a month, severely impacting the border region's peace and stability. China has urged conflicting parties to "take China's concerns seriously" and show restraint so as to restore order at the border. Chinese fighter jets patrolled the China-Myanmar border after the deadly bombing in order to "track, monitor, warn and chase away" Myanmar military planes flying close to the Chinese side. ^ top ^

China, Europe's top legislators meet (Xinhua)
2015-03-17
China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Monday pledged to strengthen cooperation to promote the China-Europe relations. Speaking of the the European Parliament's role in EU decision making, Zhang said the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliamentary body, is ready to promote the development of the China-EU partnership. Zhang, the NPC Standing Committee chairman, called on the two sides to make full use of regular exchange mechanism and increase communication and dialogue. Zhang said the development of relationship between China and EU has leaped forward in the past 40 years of their diplomatic ties, hoping that the two sides will make more efforts to support each other and achieve progress together. Zhang also hoped that practical parliamentary cooperation could support China and EU to reach agreement on bilateral cooperation and approve it, and provide legal guarantee for facilitating people-to-people exchanges. Schulz echoed Zhang, saying the parliament is willing to further enhance high-level engagement and exchanges of all levels to jointly cope with challenges and promote EU-China relations. Schulz is the first parliamentary leader to visit China since the conclusion of the NPC annual session on Sunday, as well as the first EU leader to visit China after the change of EU leadership. Chinese President Xi Jinping and State Councilor Yang Jiechi also met with Schulz on Monday. ^ top ^

Whose airspace is it? Fresh row in Sri Lanka over Chinese-funded Port City project (SCMP)
2015-03-18
The controversial Colombo Port City project has run into more trouble, with Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Authority warning the airspace over the Chinese-held area in the development would be controlled by China, drawing heavy criticism from Beijing. Sri Lanka's director-general of civil aviation and chief executive H.M.C. Nimalsiri told the South China Morning Post: "Given the media rumours of land ownership in the project, we felt it necessary to alert the government to the legal status of the airspace." The US$1.4 billion real estate project, inaugurated by President Xi Jinping in September, is financed by state-controlled and Hong Kong-listed China Communications Construction Co (CCCC). Under the deal, CCCC is to reclaim 233 hectares of land off Colombo. Of this, CCCC would get 108 hectares, including 20 hectares on freehold basis and the rest on a 99-year lease. The authority's stance is likely to provide grist for the opponents of the stalled project who have alleged that granting a Chinese state-owned company land would pose security threats. That argument has gained traction since two Chinese submarines docked in Colombo last year. The Civil Aviation Authority's internal memo to the government on airspace was reported by Sri Lanka's state-run Daily News yesterday in a report headlined "Flying over Port City a Taboo!" The Chinese embassy lashed out at the report, saying it was devoid of "basic common sense" and pointed out a Chinese company would hold the land, not the Chinese government. Nimalsiri said the embassy had clarified the matter with the aviation authorities. "But since the Chinese company is state-owned, it is up to the legal department of the government to evaluate the status of the airspace." Asked if China would control the airspace, Sri Lanka Ports Authority vice-chairman Captain Asitha Wijesekera told the Post that he had not seen any such agreement. "This is the first time I am hearing about it." Colombo Port City is among the several Chinese-funded projects that have come under the scrutiny of the new government, which alleges large-scale corruption by the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was ousted in the presidential elections in January. The new government has temporarily suspended the project, asking the Chinese company to show the documents on the basis of which it started work. Meanwhile in Beijing, the government said it was "deeply concerned" about the halted Port City project. "We hope Sri Lanka can properly handle the issue and protect the legal interests of Chinese investors," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said yesterday. ^ top ^

China asks U.S. to stop interfering in maritime disputes (Xinhua)
2015-03-18
China hopes that the United States will stop making irresponsible remarks on maritime disputes between China and other countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday. In response to a question at a daily press briefing about a U.S. military report released on Monday, Hong said China has always worked on resolving maritime disputes through consultation and negotiation with the countries directly involved on the basis of historical facts and international law. "We hope that the U.S. will adopt a just and objective stance and stop making irresponsible remarks," Hong said. He expressed the hope that the U.S. would head toward the same goal as China and build a mechanism of mutual trust and healthy relations between the two militaries. In the report entitled "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower", the U.S. Navy says China is pressing ahead with its territorial claims by force or coercing means that lead to tension and instability. The report also says the U.S. wishes to maintain constructive interactions with the Chinese Navy. Hong said China will pursue the route of peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. He said China's development of military force on the sea is not directed at, nor constitutes a threat to, any other country. He said such development meets not only China's need to safeguard its sovereignty, national security and development interests, but also the needs to maintain peace and stability in the region and the world. ^ top ^

Fighting between rebels, Myanmar government forces 'intensifying' on border with China (SCMP)
2015-03-19
Fighting between Myanmar government troops and rebel forces has intensified in a region bordering China, a Chinese state-run newspaper reported. Myanmar warplanes have also kept away from China's air space after one of the country's aircraft was blamed for entering Chinese territory last week and killing five people with a stray bomb dropped on to a field, the Global Times said. The PLA had warned that decisive measures would be taken if Myanmar warplanes violated Chinese airspace again. “The stern warnings from the Chinese government and its military have made Myanmar warplanes disappear from the sky of Kokang, but the fighting has become more intense,” the report quoted an unnamed spokesman for the rebels as saying. Government forces in Myanmar are fighting ethnic-Chinese rebels in the Kokang region. The rebel National Democratic Alliance Army was formed after splitting from Communist Party forces in Myanmar the late 1980s. State media in China have reported that about 60,000 refugees have fled Myanmar into Chinese territory in recent weeks to escape the fighting. People standing on the highway linking Lincang and the town of Nansan in Yunnan province can see the clashes over the border, the newspaper said. The fighting on a mountain 1km away has led so many people to stop their cars on the road that local police officers used a megaphone to ask them to leave and to be alert to stray bombs, the report said. The PLA is prepared and closely watching the situation across the border, the Global Times said. Soldiers would be deployed in border villages if explosions were heard. Artillery and the air force have also increased exercises in the region, the newspaper reported. Representatives from Myanmar have proposed giving the families of those killed in last week's bombing near Lincang 70,000 yuan (HK$ 88,000) in compensation, the report said. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has held talks in Yunnan with officials on how to safeguard security on the border. ^ top ^

China, Nepal vow to upgrade links to new level (Xinhua)
2015-03-19
Top Chinese and Nepalese diplomats agreed on Wednesday that the two countries will lift their relations to a new level during Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav's upcoming visit to China. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nepali counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pande held talks in Beijing ahead of Nepali President Yadav's China visit to attend the Boao Forum for Asia later this month. Wang said President Yadav is welcome to China, expressing the belief that the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Yadav will be of great significance for the future growth of bilateral links. Pande said President Yadav's visit to China will greatly advance bilateral cooperation in all areas and lift bilateral relations to a new level. Pande thanked China for its help, saying his country expects to gain more benefits from China's development. He said Nepal welcomes and is ready to participate in the "Belt and Road" projects advocated by China. Nepal has became a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and participated in the Silk Road Economic Belt project. During an official visit to Nepal on Dec. 25-27 last year, Wang Yi announced to increase China's grant assistance to Nepal to 800 million yuan from 150 million yuan. The two sides officially inked the grant deal in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Wang said China appreciates Nepal's firmly upholding the one-China policy and never allowing any forces to use the territories of Nepal to carry out separatist activities against China. He expressed the wish that Nepali will continue to support China's stance and adopt effective and preemptive measures to maintain common security and stability of both countries. Pande said the Nepali government puts great importance on its relations with China and firmly adheres to the one-China policy. He said Nepal will never allow any forces to use its territories to carry out any activities against its friendly neighbor China. ^ top ^

More wealthy Chinese set to flood US investor visa scheme: think tank report (SCMP)
2015-03-20
More Chinese are expected to apply for the United States' investor visa this year as people embrace an expanded immigrant quota and promising business opportunities, says a think tank report released yesterday. Mainland Chinese received 9,128 EB-5 investor immigrant visas last year, 46 per cent more than in 2013. Among the 10,692 investor visas the US issued last year, mainlanders received 85 per cent of them. The visa, with no age limits or language requirements, grants US citizenship to foreigners willing to invest at least US$500,000 (HK$3.88 million) and create 10 full-time jobs in the US. "Better education for their children and more diversified investment opportunities are behind the choice of the wealthy Chinese," said the authors of the Annual Report on Chinese International Migration, launched by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Centre for China and Globalisation (CCG). The report said an EB-5 visa also allowed mainlanders to escape China's air pollution, flawed pension system and inadequate medical services. "The US, Australia, New Zealand and European countries are attracting wealthy mainland investors, and a visa may ensure them easier access to overseas businesses," CCG director Wang Huiyao said. Commercial real estate projects in the US were popular investment targets among Chinese investors, supported by a strong yuan and high property prices in major mainland cities, according to the report. To create jobs and attract foreign capital, the administration of US President Barack Obama announced late last year that it would increase the number of green cards for immigrant investors from about 10,000 a year to 14,000. Under the scheme, foreigners and their family members receive a US green card in exchange for an investment of at least US$500,000 in high-unemployment or rural areas, or US$1 million in other regions. Australia, New Zealand and some European countries have announced similar investor immigration schemes to attract mainland Chinese investment. Foreigners who invest more than A$4 million (HK$23.7 million) will be granted an investor visa in Australia. In Spain and Portugal, the minimum investment required to be allowed to buy property is €500,000 (HK$4.12 million), and it is €300,000 in Cyprus to get a residency permit. But not all administrations are going down that path. Canada and Hong Kong announced last year that they would either scrap or suspend their investment visa schemes. China is the world's biggest source of international immigrants, with nearly 60 million Chinese holding visas in the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore, among other countries. In contrast, fewer than 850,000 foreigners held working visas in China in 2013, accounting for only 0.06 per cent of the population, the lowest in the world. "China should lower immigrant requirements … to help ease the deteriorating workforce shortage as well as attract more foreign professionals," Beijing-based immigration law scholar Liu Guofu said. ^ top ^

China, Japan open maritime security talks to avert accidental clashes at sea (SCMP)
2015-03-20
Japan and China vowed to speed up efforts on maritime communication yesterday after the first security talks between the two countries in four years. The two nations agreed that they needed to step up security consultations, and would arrange the next dialogue as soon as possible, Kyodo news agency reported, citing Japanese government sources. The meeting in Tokyo was the first bilateral security dialogue since January 2011, a sign of increased communications between Tokyo and Beijing despite strained relations over territory and views on wartime history. In his opening remarks to the talks, assistant foreign minister Liu Jianchao said that strengthening communications on foreign and defence policies was "meaningful" for maintaining regional peace and stability. Liu's Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama told the meeting that ties between the two nations seemed to be progressing through events such as the summit between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in November. "But it is a fact that Japan and China have concerns about their respective security policies," Sugiyama said. The security talks come as Chinese coastguard vessels continue to intrude into Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The hiatus in security talks followed China's opposition to Japan's purchase of a major part of the Senkaku Islands from a private Japanese owner in 2012. The Senkakus, a group of uninhabited islets, are claimed by China and Taiwan. Beijing calls them the Diaoyus and Taiwan refers to them as Tiaoyutai. Da Zhigang, an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Japan needed to improve communication to boost cooperation in other areas, especially with Beijing pushing its "One Belt, One Road" scheme. The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea will meet in Seoul tomorrow, during which China is expected to call on the two other countries to join the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. "An ease in mutual distrust in security is necessary for Japan to be involved in China's proposed initiative," Da said. ^ top ^

China urges Japan to stick to "purely defensive defense" strategy (Xinhua)
2015-03-20
China hopes Japan could stick to its decades-long "purely defensive defense" strategy and have an objective and rational perception on China's development, a Chinese delegation said at a China-Japan security dialogue here on Thursday. The delegation, led by Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao, also expressed concerns over Japan's security moves in recent years and expected Tokyo to adhere to a path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the region. Japan overhauled its defense stance since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in late 2012 by lifting bans on weapons exports, reinterpreting its pacifist constitution to allow its Self-Defense Forces to exercise right to collective self-defense and boosting defense budget. The delegation told the Japanese side at the security dialogue, the first one in more than four years, that China upholds the principle of peaceful development and will stick to and benefit from the path, adding that Beijing proposes a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept and will continue to contribute to the regional and world peace and stability. Briefing the country's defense and security policies, the Japanese side said further exchanges on the security issue help improve mutual trust between the two countries and are of significance to further enhance bilateral ties, according to the Chinese delegation. The two sides agreed to intensify dialogue and communication on the basis of equality and steadily push forward security cooperation so as to improve bilateral strategic relationship of mutual benefit. Liu said it is important to keep dialogue between the two countries' foreign and defense ministries as the two sides are important neighbors and regional powers, adding the meeting is also of significance to maintain regional peace. China-Japan relations witnessed a turning point last year with the signing of a four-point agreement, adding Beijing hopes to develop ties with Tokyo in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future," he said. Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama said Japan- China ties gradually improved since last year as the two sides agreed to establish air and maritime emergency contact mechanism and high-level negotiations over maritime issue. The two sides should talk directly so as to resolve problems existing in their ties and carry out relevant cooperation through talks, he noted. Senior officials from both sides' defense ministries also took part in the meeting. The talks, launched in 1993, were last held in Beijing in January 2011 but were suspended due to Japan's unilateral move to "nationalize" China's Diaoyu Islands. China-Japan ties are frayed due to the territorial dispute as well as historical issues. Also on Thursday, the two sides also held their regular consultation between foreign ministries and exchanged views on China-Japan relations and related issues. ^ top ^

Chinese president appoints eight new ambassadors (Global Times)
2015-03-20
Chinese President Xi Jinping has appointed eight new ambassadors, according to a statement from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Thursday. Yi Xianliang was appointed ambassador to Sri Lanka, replacing Wu Jianghao. La Yifan was appointed ambassador to Ethiopia, replacing Xie Xiaoyan. Zhuo Ruisheng was appointed ambassador to Burundi, replacing Yu Xuzhong. Kuang Weilin was appointed head of China's permanent mission to the African Union. Jiang Yu was appointed ambassador to Albania, replacing Ye Hao. Ye Hao was appointed ambassador to Slovenia, replacing Zhang Xianyi. Zhang Ping was appointed ambassador to Fiji, replacing Huang Yong. Fu Cong took the place of Wu Haitao, and was appointed deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland. Xi made the appointments in line with decision made by the Standing Committee of the NPC, the nation's top legislature. ^ top ^

China condemns terrorist attack in Tunisia (Xinhua)
2015-03-20
China has added its voice to international condemnation of Wednesday's deadly attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, capital of Tunisia. "China always opposes terrorism of any form and we condemn this terrorist attack on civilians," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing on Thursday. He expressed condolences to the families of the victims and those injured as well as the government of Tunisia. Hong also urged the international community to jointly address the challenge of terrorism. At least 22 people, including 20 foreign tourists, were killed when gunmen attacked the museum, Tunisia's interior ministry said on Wednesday. According to Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid, five terrorists carried out the attack, which also left 22 people injured. Two of the gunmen were shot dead by Tunisian security forces. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. ^ top ^

Russia, China to uphold world peace, WWII history (Xinhua)
2015-03-20
Russia and China will jointly celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Second World War to uphold world peace and wartime history. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday met here with Li Zhanshu, a senior official of Communist Party of China (CPC). Putin said he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to come to Moscow for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War on May 9. According to Putin, the two countries' joint celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Second World War would help safeguard world peace against attempts to distort history and glorify invaders. Li, member of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau and member of the CPC Central Committee's Secretariat as well as director of the CPC Central Committee's General Office, said that China and Russia, as two main battlefields in Asia and Europe during World War II, had made enormous contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. China and Russia have decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of World War II in both countries, which is of great significance to commemorating martyrs, remembering the history, cherishing and safeguarding world peace while serving a wake up call for future, Li added. According to Li, President Xi has always treated the development of China-Russia relations as priorities and valued highly the sound working relationship and personal friendship with President Putin. Putin said Russia is willing to work with China and push forward bilateral cooperation in all fields, and asked Li to extend his good wishes to President Xi. During the past two years, the two heads of state have met eight times, reaching a series of important consensus on strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership and bilateral cooperation in all spheres. Those meetings and consensus, said Li, have ushered in a new era of bilateral relations, with constant fruitful results. As the two leaders would maintain close contacts this year at bilateral and multilateral levels, Li pledged that the General Office of the CPC Central Committee is willing to work closely with the Russian Presidential Administration to implement consensus on cooperation and make the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the WWII a success. Li also held talks with Russian Presidential Administration Chief Sergei Ivanov, and exchanged views on the mechanism of enhancing contacts between the two sides. They also met the press together after the talks.  ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

'Like taking a knife to one's flesh': Li Keqiang vows to push on with 'painful reforms' (SCMP)
2015-03-16
Premier Li Keqiang admitted yesterday that China would face difficulties meeting its growth target but vowed to press ahead with "painful reforms" to cut red tape and spur growth through innovation. Speaking to the world media at the annual press conference to wrap up the national parliamentary sessions, Li said it would be "by no means easy" for the country to achieve its 7 per cent growth target in gross domestic product for 2015 - the lowest in 15 years. The economy dominated the otherwise lacklustre event, accounting for eight of the 17 questions aimed at the premier. There were no questions from the foreign media about the usual sensitive subjects of Tibet, territorial disputes or human rights. Li stressed the importance of innovation and e-commerce as new engines of growth, but otherwise offered few details on how the world's second-largest economy would go forward. GDP grew 7.4 per cent last year - the slowest rate in 24 years, amid the fallout from industrial overcapacity and an ailing property market. But Li vowed to press on with reforms, saying they would be painful but unavoidable. "This is not nail-clipping. This is like taking a knife to one's own flesh," Li said. "But however painful it might be, we are determined to keep going until our job is done." He said that despite the slowdown in growth, China created more jobs last year as the government continued to reduce its role in the economy. China would not resort to another major stimulus like the one after the 2008 global financial crisis. Instead, Li said, Beijing would look to the "new economy" - the internet, technology and services sectors - to spur growth. Unlike his predecessor, Wen Jiabao, who often used poetry to make a point, Li underscored his message with a popular internet phrase. "We need to position ourselves to where the winds blow. If we catch this wind of the internet, the Chinese economy will fly." The reference was a variant of a saying popular among tech executives that "even pigs can fly if they catch the right wind". Mizuho Securities greater China chief economist Shen Jianguang said that cutting red tape and supporting new industries were long-term measures and not immediate solutions to problems like overcapacity. Li also said the central government still had ample room and "plenty of tools" to keep growth "within a reasonable range". ANZ Banking Group senior economist Raymond Yeung Yue-ting said Li needed to assure the market that China could manage "the economic downside risks". "China has room to ease monetary policy and property curbs, as well as increase investment to boost economic growth," hesaid. The central bank cut benchmark interest rates on March 1 and last month cut the banks' reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points. ^ top ^

Is it time to end the One Child Policy? (SCMP)
2015-03-16
China is studying further changes to its population control policy, Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday, amid intense speculation and debate over whether the country will completely throw out the one-child policy. Renewed discussion got off to a start at the annual parliamentary sessions, when for the first time since 1988, the premier's annual government report did not mention the clause "the birth-control policy remains the fundamental state policy of China". Instead, Li said in his report that "[the government will] push forward the reform of birth-control management and services". Asked yesterday if the government was ready to allow all families to have a second child, Li said that the government was evaluating the partial relaxation of one-child policy introduced last year. "We will also take into account the country's economic development and demographic changes in weighing the pros and cons [of further policy change]," Li said. "But any adjustment and improvement of population policy would be conducted in accordance with legal procedures." The mainland recorded 16.87 million births last year, 470,000 more than in 2013, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission. After the leadership endorsed an easing of the one-child rule in late 2013, some policymakers said the nation might have trouble absorbing the extra births. But only one million out of 11 million eligible couples applied to have a second child last year. Ren Yuan, a demographer at Fudan University, said: "The 470,000 births is not significant given the base of more than 16 million births and … the increased number of births is also due in part to the larger number of fertile-age women born after 1985." The mainland previously allowed parents who were both single children to have a second child. Last year the rule was relaxed so couples where only one parent was a single child were eligible to have two children. Ren pointed out that the fertility rate was on a downward trend, and stood at 1.8, below the replacement-level fertility rate of 2.1. Ren added there was no significant difference between a limited application of the two-child policy and making it universal, so couples should be offered the choice to have a second child. Annual births were expected to be higher this year through to 2018, as the women born during the baby boom period between 1986 and 1990 reached the age of fertility, Ren said. But the numbers would still be considerably lower than what was seen during that five-year window, and he predicted they would drop quickly after 2019, due to fewer fertile-age women, making it feasible to introduce a universal two-child policy. According to a study by Zhai Zhenwu, a professor at Renmin University's School of Sociology and Population, an immediate transition to a blanket policy would sharply drive up the number of births every year to nearly 50 million, and raise the total fertility rate to about 4.5. The change would not alter the number of elderly over the next three or four decades, but would change the ratio of older to younger people and slow the trend towards greying. If the policy was changed later, such as in 2017 or 2020, considerably fewer extra births would occur, he said. Yuan Xin, a demographer at Nankai University in Tianjin, disagreed with Zhai over the impact of an immediate adoption of a universal two-child policy. It would not have an impact on the greying of the mainland but would affect the sex ratio and structure of the family. Judging by the number of couples who applied last year to have a second child, the mainland could record a million extra births and the total population would probably continue to rise through to 2018 then decline because of fewer fertile-age women. "It's up to the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council to decide when to start the universal two-child policy. If the population continues to rise stably, it is possible to further loosen birth controls by 2020," Yuan said. But Ren said all birth limitations should be abandoned so families could decide their size. "The adjustment of birth control policy is not about increasing the labour supply or easing the greying of society because the impact is very small - China remains a country with the largest labour force and you can't stop the trend of an ageing society because of increased life expectancy," Ren said. ^ top ^

China concludes annual parliamentary session, promoting rule of law (Xinhua)
2015-03-16
The National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliamentary body, concluded its annual session Sunday morning. The session fulfilled its task, building consensus among the people, clarifying the missions ahead and raising confidence, said Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, who presided over the closing meeting. The NPC deputies approved a number of important documents, including the government work report, the national economic and social development plan and the central budget. They endorsed the work reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. They adopted the revision to the Legislation Law. One of the most important outcomes at this session is the revision to the Legislation Law, Zhang said. The revised law improves legislative system, further clarifies legislative power and streamlines the procedure, he said. The law is of great significance to the effort of perfecting the socialist legal system centering on the Constitution, he said. The top legislator stressed that all work should center on the strategic layout of "Four Comprehensives". "The NPC is facing new requirements and having new tasks to keep a balance between reform and legislation," he said. While adhering to the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, the NPC will work to ensure that all reform measures are legitimate and legislation is updated according to the needs of the reform and economic and social development, he said. Zhang stressed the role of people's congresses as a major platform to connect with the people in a bid to push forward socialist democracy. Zhang called on all NPC deputies to enhance their sense of responsibility, develop close contacts with the people, promptly respond to people's requests and be supervised by them. The lawmakers also approved the resignations of two NPC Standing Committee members, Chen Jining and Chen Hao, at the closing meeting. Chen Jining took the office as Minister of Environmental Protection in February. Chen Hao was appointed vice governor of southwest China's Yunnan Province last October and promoted to the governor in January. According to the NPC rules, NPC Standing Committee members, elected from NPC deputies, are not allowed to take posts in governments, courts and procuratorates. The NPC Standing Committee accepted their resignations in February and last November respectively and submitted them to the full session for final confirmation. ^ top ^

Chinese military to keep up probes into Xu Caihou-linked graft (SCMP)
2015-03-17
The death of disgraced former general Xu Caihou on Sunday did not mean the end to graft investigations into people linked to him, the military said yesterday, vowing to press on with a crackdown on corruption. In a commentary on a website affiliated with The PLA Daily, the authorities pledged to keep up the "zero tolerance" approach towards corruption, saying cases related to Xu's would not be "left unsettled". The pledge came hours after Xinhua reported late on Sunday that the former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission had died at age 71 of multiple organ failure and bladder cancer. In another statement on the website, the military procuratorate said Xu's cancer was diagnosed on February 4, 2013, and he was sent to the PLA General Hospital in Beijing, where he was kept under surveillance and treated by medical specialists. Both the Xinhua report and the procuratorate's statement said the case against Xu, who is so far the most senior military official targeted by President Xi Jinping's ongoing anti-graft campaign, had been dropped. The commentary in The PLA Daily said Xu's case had been a "deep lesson" for the army. But it added that the investigation against Xu was "one of necessity" and an example for others in the PLA's ongoing, hard-hitting campaign. "In order to build a strong army of a great power, how can [the army] allow corrupt people to escape?" The timing of the announcement of Xu's death prompted speculation that he might have died much earlier and that the news may have been kept secret to avoid overshadowing the National People's Congress, which ended on Sunday morning. A Beijing-based senior colonel told the South China Morning Post that he heard Xu was "in extremely critical situation more than a week ago, but medical staff had spared no efforts to keep him alive". A source close to the Guangzhou Military Region, where Xu's daughter, Xu Sining, was working, told the Post it would have been out of the question to announce Xu's death while the congress was still under way. "Xu was expected to die many days ago, but it would have been impossible to announce his death at the time because there is a rule that no one and nothing can be allowed to shift the focus away from the NPC," the source said. There was also discussion about the fate of other senior officials closely connected to Xu. A Shanghai-based colonel said Xu's death would help Xi, who is also chairman of the CMC, to focus on the anti-corruption investigations against retired general Guo Boxiong. Guo's son, Guo Zhenggang, is among the 14 senior military officials that the authorities named two weeks ago as either under investigation or having been convicted of graft. "The public previously demanded an open hearing for Xu. That might have embarrassed President Xi because it's possible Xu might have revealed secrets or inside stories if he didn't want to cooperate with the authorities," the Shanghai source said. "As soon as Xu's case is wrapped up, Xi will feel free to target other big 'tigers' like Guo," he said, referring to the president's vow to go after corrupt officials of all ranks. ^ top ^

Chinese corruption watchdog investigates CNPC's Liao Yongyuan (SCMP)
2015-03-17
The general manager of China National Petroleum Corporation, Liao Yongyuan, is under investigation for suspected graft, the Communist Party's anti-graft agency said on Monday. Liao, 52, was being investigated for "suspected serious violations of law and party discipline" - a stock phrase for corruption - the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website last night. Liao is the second top executive at a state-owned enterprise in two days to be named in an investigation, as the CCDI steps up its fight against graft in SOEs. On Sunday, the CCDI announced that Xu Jianyi, chairman of carmaker FAW Group, had been detained for suspected corruption. Since the watchdog started looking into CNPC in 2013, at least 46 people have come under investigation, Caixin reported. Several senior executives at CNPC and its subsidiaries were detained on suspicion of corruption in 2013, including Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of CNPC. CCDI chief Wang Qishan said early this year that the first round of inspections for 2015 would focus on 26 top SOEs, including key players in oil and energy, electricity, telecoms, transport, materials and minerals and construction. Liao's most recent public appearance was last Tuesday, when he met Hunan governor Du Jiahao to talk about increasing the supply of natural gas in the province. Liao was one of the company officials disciplined over four fires that broke out at CNPC-run plants in Dalian, Liaoning province in 2010 and 2011. One of the worst instances was an explosion at a CNPC pipeline in the city in July 2010 that killed one firefighter and caused an oil spill offshore. Liao has spent 30 years in the petroleum and natural gas industry. He joined CNPC in 2004 as the assistant to the corporation's general manager. He became CNPC's general manager in May, 2013. ^ top ^

China to publish details of 'Belt and Road' initiatives (Global Times)
2015-03-17
China will release details of the Belt and Road initiatives when the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia opens at the end of the month in South China's Hainan Province. Sources said that the implementation plan will include a detailed list of major infrastructure projects including railways, roads, energy, information technology and industrial parks in the coming years. The number of these major infrastructure projects could reach the hundreds and will spread among Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and China's other neighboring countries, the sources said. Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located in the center of Asia, is the gateway to the Silk Road, and it will play a key role in China-Europe exchanges. The 2015 Boao Forum for Asia, from March 26 to 29 in the island province of Hainan, carries the theme, "Asia's New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny." China's ambitious trans-Eurasia and cross-ocean trade strategy, the Belt and Road initiatives, which aim to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, were proposed by President Xi Jinping during two separate visits to Central Asia and Southeast Asia in 2013, in a bid to revive the historic trade routes by boosting cooperation between China and other Asian nations. In November 2014, China announced that it will contribute $40 billion to set up a Silk Road Fund to provide investment and financing support for infrastructure, resources, industrial cooperation, financial cooperation and other projects to connect countries along the "Belt and Road." China said that fund will be open to active participation by investors from both within and outside of Asia. ^ top ^

China needs more efforts in environmental governance (Xinhua)
2015-03-18
Some foreign experts have pointed out that while China has made tremendous effort in environmental governance and sustainable development, it still faces many environmental challenges and has a long and bumpy road to travel. The scale of China's economy is one of the biggest challenges China has to deal with in environmental protection nowadays, said Isabel Hilton, director of China-dialogue, a non-governmental organization based in London and Beijing promoting nature conservation and business cooperation. "This is a very big country and it is a big problem," Hilton said, adding that China has to handle stressing environmental pressure both from its current economic activities, and from damages inflicted by decades of an extensive mode of growth, especially the pollution in air, water and soil. "I think in terms of governance we have seen a lot of progress in legislation and regulation. We have seen a lot of progress in things like environmental courts, we have seen a lot of progress in realistic fines," Hilton noted. Hilton also suggested China take advantage of its enormous manufacturing capacity to fast forward the transformation of its energy structure, "which is still 70 percent dependent on coal." "When China turns its attention to the manufacturing of solar panels or wind turbines, the global price drops because China is very good at this," she said, adding that China and the world would both benefit from the country's upgrading of energy structure. Hideaki Koyanagi, director of Sino-Japan Cooperation Project Office at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, believed that the accumulating burden of previous pollution remains one of the major threats against China's environmental protection. To eradicate pollution and realize a decisive transformation in China's environmental situation, not only the resolution and persistent efforts of the Chinese government are needed, but also the active engagement of all citizens. German ecologist Hans-Joachim Mader said that compared with the country's economic growth, China's environmental governance is moving forward at a slower pace. He suggested that China allow natural restoration to keep pace with economic growth. Mader also pointed out that China has failed to attach enough importance to all-around ecological management, saying China had mostly relied on technologies to tackle pollution, but environmental governance was not only about applying technologies. Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at the U.S. Tufts University, believed that China should get away from its heavy reliance on coals in order to better improve its environment and facilitate sustainable development. Gallagher said that because of its abundant reserve of coal mines, many infrastructures in China are being built based on a coal-oriented economy, which, in turn, increases China's dependence on coal. China should control its carbon emission and diversify its energy resources via developing renewable resources, nuclear powers and so on, Gallagher added. ^ top ^

Retired PLA general 'ashamed and scared' by corruption in China's military (SCMP)
2015-03-19
A hawkish retired People's Liberation Army major general said he felt "a burning shame" and was "scared" at the number of top brass suspected of corruption. "How come so many greedy guys get promoted to the top level? Are they qualified and capable of commanding an army to fight battles?" asked Luo Yuan in an interview with the South China Morning Post. "The fighting capability of an army would be compromised as no soldier would fight for corrupt leaders … [they] would definitely disobey superiors who were promoted due to bribes," he added. Luo is a vice-president of a Beijing think tank made up of retired military officers. From 2008 to 2013 he was a delegate to the country's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He said he felt shame every time a senior officer was snared in the anti-graft campaign, launched by President Xi Jinping after he took over the military, Communist Party and presidency two years ago. "The appearance of those disgraced senior officials in our army like Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan, who were worshipping money, craving promotion, buying and selling ranks … such things could previously only be read about in history textbooks. Such behaviour was the key reason behind the defeats of the Qing dynasty army and Kuomintang military. "But now the same is happening in our people's army. It's such a burning shame!" Xu, a former vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, is the most senior military figure to be investigated in Xi's anti-graft campaign. His case was dropped after he died of bladder cancer on Sunday. Gu, a top ally of Xu and a former deputy logistics chief, was charged with bribery and embezzlement last year. Some reports said Gu was suspected of selling hundreds of senior positions. Investigators believe he took bribes worth 600 million yuan (HK$757 million) as part of a 30 billion-yuan scam. Luo said he supported Xi's move to promote the PLA's spirit and traditions as a way to revive dedication and morale among the troops, even though some critics say the army's doctrine of "utter devotion" runs contrary to modern social values. "It's prejudiced to say the [PLA's] spirit is outdated," Luo said. "In fact, our ideological work has gone awry because of slackness in past years of promoting its glorious revolutionary traditions. That is what has caused today's problem." Luo also said the PLA's equipment still lagged behind that of the United States. "We welcome all kinds of impartial assessments of the Chinese military by outsiders because the spectator sees most clearly," he said. "We must be receptive to the experience of foreign armies." ^ top ^

China announces massive boost in solar energy target to help fight pollution (SCMP)
2015-03-19
China will expand plans to ease its air pollution problems this year by installing green energy projects that add almost 2½ times as much solar capacity as the United States added last year. The world's biggest emitter of carbon aimed to install as much as 17.8 gigawatts of solar projects this year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced yesterday. The NEA previously estimated that 15GW would be added this year, said a person who asked not to be named, citing confidentiality requirements. The nation of almost 1.4 billion people wanted to more than triple its solar power capacity to 100GW by 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission said in November. China added as much as 12GW of solar power in 2014, narrowly missing the target it had set for the year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said. The US added 7.3GW of solar capacity for the year, BNEF's data showed. "This reflects China's stronger efforts to reduce emissions," said Peng Peng, a Beijing-based analyst from the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association. China is using more solar power as part of its plans to cap emissions in the next 15 years. President Xi Jinping has pledged an "iron hand" to protect the environment after a November pact with US President Barack Obama to increase China's share of non-fossil fuel in its total energy use to 20 per cent by 2030. China's emissions of carbon dioxide fell last year for the first time in more than a decade, helping stall global production of climate-warming gases. Total carbon emissions in the world's second-biggest economy dropped 2 per cent last year from the previous year, the first decline since 2001, said a BNEF estimate based on data from China's National Bureau of Statistics. The NEA has asked local departments in 26 regions of the country to submit plans by the end of next month detailing new solar projects for this year. Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing and has the nation's worst air pollution, was likely to receive the most new solar projects this year with allocations of 1.2GW of installations, the NEA said. Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Qinghai and Ningxia have all been given 1GW, according to the document. China's more ambitious goal may attract as much as 21 billion yuan (HK$26 billion) of additional investment to solar projects compared with the earlier plan, BNEF estimated. The shares of Chinese solar companies rose after the new target was reported by news website Ne21.com and noted by Credit Suisse Securities USA analysts. "This will benefit equipment suppliers that focus on the domestic market," said Yin Lei, a Shenzhen-based analyst at China Merchants Securities. Yin expected the new target to spur installations of smaller solar projects that the nation has been promoting since 2013. ^ top ^

Premier stresses economic targets, agricultural reform (Xinhua)
2015-03-19
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged all sectors to carry out this year's major tasks and deepen reforms in agriculture and foreign trade. Li made the remarks while presiding over an executive meeting of the State Council on Wednesday, saying that governments at all levels should be responsible and spare no efforts to guarantee the targets in the new government work report. He stressed stabilizing economic growth by providing strong policy support, flexible monetary tools, more job opportunities and proper controls and regulations. The premier delivered a government work report on March 5 at the parliament's annual session, announcing China's 2015 economic growth target of approximately 7 percent. The government needs to continue red-tape reduction and reform of taxation, financing and investment, to invigorate the market and clear the path for entrepreneurship, Li said. He called for more service supply and faster construction of railways in central and west China, major water conservation projects and renovating substandard housing, as well as wider global cooperation in equipment manufacturing. The Wednesday meeting passed a plan for sustainable development in agriculture, to ensure food security and better living for farmers. The plan demands securing the area and quality of farmland. Around 800 million mu (about 53 million hectares) of high-quality farmland shall be cultivated by the end of 2020. A greater variety of agricultural businesses will improve efficiency, while water conservation and protection of forests, wetland, grassland and lakes in rural area shall be strengthened. The premier also wants better port management with easier and transparent customs clearance. More approvals for customs clearance will be cut, inspections improved and illegal fees rooted outs. Transregional cooperation and better port layouts will support cross-border e-commerce areas. ^ top ^

Chinese scientist honored by UNESCO For Women in Science award (Xinhua)
2015-03-19
Yi Xie, professor at the University of Science and Technology of China, was on Wednesday honored with the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards 2015, together with four other women for their ground-breaking discoveries in physical sciences. "Yi Xie is being honored for her significant contributions to creating new nano materials with promising applications in the conversion of heat or sunlight into electricity," said a UNESCO press release. "Her work will greatly contribute to lessening pollution and boosting energy efficiency, and will open promising prospects for the future. Committed to preserving our planet, she has dedicated her life to finding new and intelligent solutions to address the environmental challenge," it added. The other four scientists honored by the awards are: Rajaa Cherkaoui El Moursli, professor at the Mohammed V University of Morocco, Dame Carol Robinson, professor at Oxford University, Thaisa Storchi Bergmann, professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil and Molly S. Shoichet, professor at the University of Toronto. This year's five laureates were selected from five regions of the world by an independent jury made up of 12 prominent international scientists who were personally chosen by the president of the jury and 1999 Nobel Prize winner Prof. Ahmed Zewail. Dedicated to both honoring distinguished women scientists and supporting promising young researchers, the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative gives five annual awards and accelerates the careers of 15 exceptional young women chosen every year. ^ top ^

Xinjiang: Productivity versus pollution (China Daily)
2015-03-19
In the early years, cotton planters collected the unwanted plastic by hand after the harvest and then burned it along with the unwanted crop stalks, but the practice was inefficient and expensive in terms of labor, so it died out as farmers looked to lower costs. That move was partly responsible for the region's low PE film recycling rate. Last year, 185,000 metric tons of sheeting were used in Xinjiang, but the recycling rate only averaged 40 to 50 percent, according to data from the regional agricultural department. In a bid to encourage recycling, the region introduced new regulations on PE film for agricultural use from Dec 1, upgrading the standard thickness of 0.008 millimeters to a more-robust 0.01 mm. "The thicker the film, the easier it is to recycle because it breaks less easily," Wang Xuenong said. Government subsidies During the past decade, the institute has been developing machines to collect film discarded in cotton fields, and one of its designs-part thresher, part plastic-retrieval system-has been actively promoted. "The government gives farmers a subsidy of 15,000 yuan ($2,400) when they buy one, almost one-sixth of the price," Wang Xuenong said. "So far this year, we have already received orders for 40 machines. As long as the film meets the new standards, the machine can collect nearly 90 percent of the used film if the ground has been cleared, and about 83 percent if the film was buried in the soil before the stalks were cut," he said. ^ top ^

China grows more popular for foreigners, finds report (Global Times)
2015-03-20
China is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for foreigners while the number of Chinese emigrants to the US has dwindled, according to an annual report on China's migration status released on Thursday. Experts attributed the increasing popularity to the growth of China's national strength and improved global image. There were some 848,500 foreign residents in China in 2013, with an average yearly increase of 3.9 percent compared with a decade ago, found the Annual Report on Chinese International Migration (2015) issued by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG). Following Switzerland and Singapore, China ranked third in the most attractive countries and regions to foreigners, added the report, citing the Expat Explorer Report 2014 issued by the HSBC Group in October last year. This report surveyed 9,300 high-earning expats living across the globe. It found that China was home to the highest-earning expats, with 23 percent earning over $300,000 annually. Statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange show that more than 612,000 work visits were made to China last year, an increase of 83,000 from 2011. "China has strong momentum to attract more foreigners in the future. The nation's gigantic GDP and rapid growth provides numerous opportunities and vast space for development," Wang Huiyao, director general of the CCG, told the Global Times. The rising number of foreigners in China shows how China's status and image in the world have improved, said Song Quancheng, director of the Institute of Migration Studies at Shandong University. "It's also a result of our market demands as China is going through structural change in the job markets. Labor costs in China have increased, creating a demand for labor at the lower end," Song said, adding that more foreigners living in China come from developing countries. This includes Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar. A breakdown of the nationality of the foreigners in China was not given in the report. Meanwhile, the report said that the number of Chinese residents receiving US permanent residency dropped to around 71,000 in 2013, a 12.2 percent decrease from 2012, but technology and investment immigration in the US still had its appeal. In 2013, skilled immigrants from the Chinese mainland accounted for 28.2 percent of the total migrant population in the US, up 4.9 percent from 2012. China is also the prime source of investment immigration to the US. Chinese citizens account for over 85 percent of those who hold an investor visa. "The US no longer holds as strong an attraction as before, since China has been working to narrow the gap between itself and the US, in both the economy and social development," Song said. "Skilled and investor immigrants have always been the most welcomed in the world. China should also adjust its policy to attract more resources from the world for national development." Despite the drop, the US was still the favored destination for Chinese émigrés in 2013, with Canada second with 34,000 Chinese migrants and Australia third with 27,334. South Korea, Japan and Singapore were next. No total figure was given. Wang agreed that China should not miss the trend of international migration. Compared with developed countries, which on average have a ratio of foreign expats of around 10 percent, China lags far behind with a ratio of less than 1 percent. A total of 1,402 foreign expats received a China green card approved by the Ministry of Public Security in 2013, a 16.6 percent increase in compared with 2012. The total number of China green card holders was 7,356 as of 2013. Experts suggested that more systematic measures should be implemented to attract talented people, including setting up a migration department and passing a law on migration. "The number of overseas Chinese is estimated to have reached 60 million, three-quarters of whom live in Southeast Asia. They can play a significant role in promoting China's relations with other countries as well as China's global strategies, such as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative," Wang said, suggesting overseas Chinese take the lead in participating in project construction to dispel possible mistrust among local societies. China contributed the largest number of outbound tourists in the world in 2014. Some 115 million trips were made in 2014 with travel expenses topping $155 billion, indicating a tourism trade deficit of more than $100 billion - the largest trade deficit in the world, the report added. ^ top ^

Counterfeiting clampdown (Global Times)
2015-03-20
Many find it difficult to tell a counterfeit banknote from a genuine one. Most often, a portrait of the late State leader Mao Zedong, a few words in ethnic minority languages, a safety line and a watermark are all it takes to fool the untrained eye. And because the technology used to produce counterfeit money has improved in recent years, it is more difficult than ever to spot a fake. Some of the fake cash can even pass through a bank clerk's currency detector without getting caught. However, there is no counterfeit currency so convincing that it fools the special police squad tasked with fighting the forgers. In order to identify counterfeit money, find out where it comes from and how it is produced, China's first anti-counterfeit money laboratory was set up by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) in 2011. The latest lab was built in Tianjin in December 2014, making it the third anti-counterfeit money laboratory in China. During a recent media visit to an anti-counterfeiting laboratory, a Xinhua News Agency reporter learned how to identify fake notes by checking the subtle differences in design and color tone between real and forged bills. Counterfeit bills are often duller in color while the shape of the denomination, the portrait of Mao and the safety line may look blurry. Forgery on the rise : Dong Yongxian, the head of the laboratory, explained that the process used to counterfeit money is highly complicated. Criminals first purchase paper, iron on a safety line and then print colors onto it layer by layer. After that, they re-size the paper and process it again to fine tune the details. Every counterfeit note is also compressed in order to create a textured finish, he said, adding that a forger has to be very careful when producing counterfeit notes because a minor mistake could ruin the product. "If the counterfeit money is produced carefully, the profit it makes can be enormous," Dong said. "In a counterfeit case which involved 220 million yuan ($35.4 million) in Guangdong Province late last year, we found that the criminals could make tons of counterfeit money worth 100 million yuan within a week if they worked 24/7." According to Xinhua, the Chinese public security authorities have uncovered over 1,000 cases related to counterfeit money in the past few years. The amount of counterfeit money seized in 2014 was 25 percent larger than that seized in 2012. Criminal innovations : "With bank notes, we will analyze the fiber, the type of wood used and the water content to identify the origin of the money, which helps police find the location of the factory," Dong said. According to analysis conducted on counterfeit bank notes found over the past few years, 96.7 percent of the money was made from moulds designed by the one man, named Peng Daxiang. Peng, who is over 70 years old, is a painter in Guangdong. He is so skillful that he was able to create a series of highly accurate renminbi moulds without using a computer. A 100 yuan renminbi mould he made could be sold for anywhere between a few thousand yuan to a few hundred thousand yuan. "Peng was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003 after police uncovered a counterfeit money case in January that year, but his moulds and the counterfeit money made from the moulds are still in the market currently," Dong noted. Apart from Peng's counterfeit money, analyst found that the techniques used to produce ersatz bank notes have evolved a lot in recent years, making it harder for the police to clamp down on such activities. Pan Yuzong, director of the economic crime investigation department of the MPS, said the denominations of the counterfeit money produced is getting smaller, and the number of counterfeit one yuan, five yuan and 10 yuan notes in circulation has rocketed. "Since people do not pay much attention to such low-value cash, the money is spread widely, harming the general public," Pan said, adding that a group of people in Shandong Province, who were arrested in February, produced 160,000 yuan worth of counterfeit one yuan coins. Also, with the help of the Internet, criminals can sell and transport their fake notes faster and more easily than before, making it more difficult for police to discover and trace them. "Surprisingly, some people even openly sell counterfeit money on the Internet," he said. Hardware developments have also contributed to the changing nature of the crime. In the past, if one wanted to produce counterfeit money one needed a number of specialized machines such as a printing press, a paper cutting machine and a film machine. But nowadays, all that is needed to create basic counterfeit money is a printer, ink and paper. Anti-counterfeiting collaboration : the counterfeit money found over the past years was mainly produced in Guangdong, but counterfeit money factories are increasingly found in other parts of the country. So far, the anti-counterfeit money task force has set up 13 monitoring points all over China to crack down on the spread of counterfeit money. Dong said the laboratory will work on several anti-counterfeit money mechanisms such as collaborating with banks to help them identify fake bank notes and will work closely with other countries to exchange information and monitor current forgery trends. In 2014, a new kind of counterfeit money was found in circulation with serial numbers starting with "30." "The rise of new kinds of counterfeit money shows that counterfeit money production sites are spreading," Pan said. He remarked that this year the MPS will work closely with the People's Bank of China to target specific regions to further suppress counterfeit money crimes. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Ex-Tibetan nun recalls torture in Chinese jail as demonstrators rally in Paris to mark failed 1959 uprising (SCMP)
2015-03-16
Gyaltsen Drolkar spent 12 years in a Chinese jail where she says she was relentlessly tortured, escaping after her release in an arduous trek across the Himalayas to Nepal and then onto Belgium where she now lives. The former Tibetan nun was one of several thousand protesters who rallied in Paris on Saturday to mark the failed 1959 uprising against China that forced the Dalai Lama to flee into exile, and to try to put the spotlight back onto the Tibetan cause. China's government has been accused of widespread repression of Tibetans' religion, culture and language that has sparked an unprecedented wave of self-immolations, although Beijing categorically denies this, saying it has brought prosperity and better living conditions to an impoverished region. "I was freed a while back now, and I'm lucky that I now live in the West, but I still have physical after-effects," Drolkar said, a Tibetan flag wrapped around her shoulders, the Eiffel Tower in the background. The 45-year-old was arrested in 1990 for taking part in a peaceful protest calling on Chinese authorities to respect freedom of expression and religion in Tibetan regions. A nun at the time at the Garu Nunnery north of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, she was sentenced to four years in jail for "separatist acts" - a charge routinely levelled by Beijing at the Dalai Lama and his followers. As political prisoners, Drolkar and her fellow protesting nuns were watched closely, but they managed to borrow a tape recorder from another detainee in 1993 and boldly recorded songs denouncing prison conditions and praising the Dalai Lama, who is persona non grata in China. The group of nuns got the tape smuggled out, and when authorities found out, they extended their jail sentences. Drolkar was given an extra eight years. "We were victims of all sorts of torture, mental, physical," she said, speaking through a translator. "For instance, they tied me up and hung me up, covered my face, and beat me. "They used electric instruments. I would faint, and when I came to, they would start again." Others of her fellow detained nuns had dogs set on them, she said, although that never happened to her. Allegations of torture in Chinese prisons are widespread - not only among Tibetan detainees but among other minorities and rights defenders. But Beijing vigorously denies any transgressions, saying that torture is completely prohibited. Released in 2002, Drolkar eventually left Tibet in 2004. She now lives in the Belgian city of Antwerp - a layperson now, and no longer a nun. At the Paris march, Drolkar was one of more than 3,000 people from several European countries waving Tibetan flags and sporting banners reading "Stop cultural genocide" or "Tibet will be free". Lobsang Sangay, the leader of Tibet's India-based exiled government, also took part in the rally. ^ top ^

China compiles bilingual training books for Tibetan law enforcers (Xinhua)
2015-03-16
China has compiled a series of law-themed training books in Chinese and Tibetan language, the first of its kind aiming to facilitate law enforcement in the country's Tibetan areas. The ten-book set, with topics ranging from the Constitution and Criminal Law, took law experts well versed in Chinese and Tibetan languages one year to write under the organization of the Gansu Provincial Higher People's Court, according to a statement released Sunday after a symposium on the books. The series will be published by the Ethnic Publishing House. "This series fills in the blank for political and legal workers in the Tibetan regions who have no bilingual training books. It will play an important role in cultivating judges of ethnic minorities, boosting the judicial work of courts and ensure the rights of Tibetan people to appeal in their own ethnic language," said Chief Justice Zhou Qiang. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Mainland confident in 'One Country, Two Systems' policy for HK (Global Times)
2015-03-16
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday assured that the Chinese government will not tighten its policy toward Hong Kong because of the stability of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy. "I believe that it is unnecessary to worry that the central government will tighten its policy toward Hong Kong," Li said at a press conference after the conclusion of the annual legislative session. He stressed that the "One Country, Two Systems" policy and high degree of autonomy are basic State policies. "'One Country, Two Systems' is enshrined in the Constitution and the Basic Law, which form the constitutional basis of the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region," Li said. "It is also stipulated in the Basic Law as to what system should be practiced in the region." He added that this year's government work report mentioned that the Constitution and the Basic Law should be strictly followed, which reflects China's commitment to the consistent and full implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. Zhang Dinghuai, a professor at the Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute of Shenzhen University, told the Global Times that the fact that Chinese leaders have repeatedly stressed that "One Country, Two Systems" is a basic State policy shows that it is guaranteed both politically and legally. Zhang added that over the past 25 years since the Basic Law was issued, the principle has already transformed from a political commitment into an institutional arrangement which will remain unchanged in the provisions of the Basic Law. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, post-Occupy activities continue. Protest groups launched protests against mainland traders and demands for political reform Sunday at Government House. At least 300 police were deployed and several were arrested. In response, two anti-Hong Kong independence protests took place in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, expressing their anger over the recent violent anti-mainland traders protests. Tian Feilong, a law professor and visiting scholar at the University of Hong Kong, said that the anti-mainland protests have failed facing wide opposition. Zhang said that some people in Hong Kong still lack a comprehensive understanding of "One Country, Two Systems," which has led to radical protests. ^ top ^

Passengers to pay HK$180 departure fee for new Hong Kong runway; Legco in cold over funding (SCMP)
2015-03-18
The construction funding of a multibillion-dollar third airport runway is set to bypass legislative scrutiny under a financing plan that includes levying surcharges on passengers and airlines. Adopting a "user pays" principle, the plan circumvents the need for vetting on the Legislative Council's Finance Committee, raising concerns from lawmakers about the risks of reduced accountability. But Fred Lam Tin-fuk, chief executive of the Airport Authority, said the financing plan was the "fairest" method. He said: "Our suggested user-pay principle makes good sense, because subsidising the project through the government means local taxpayers would be footing the bill for overseas passengers." The Executive Council gave its long-awaited approval to the authority yesterday to build the runway, with construction works possibly starting as early as next year despite unresolved issues about regional airspace and a judicial review over its environmental impact report. Upon its planned completion in 2023, the runway will allow Chek Lap Kok airport to serve 30 million more passengers a year. The latest budget is set at HK$141.5 billion - but taxpayers are to be spared any expense as funds are to be drawn internally from the authority's surpluses, user charges and external financing via bank loans and bonds. But the "self-financing" plan will entail the authority's denial of annual dividends to the government - its sole shareholder - and lead to lost public revenues of about HK$50 billion in the next 10 years based on 2014 figures. Lam did not say if the plan was designed to get round the Finance Committee. Lawmakers' filibustering in recent years has delayed landfill expansion and incinerator projects. Under the financing plan, departing travellers must fork out an "airport construction fee" of about HK$180. But Lam said: "With Exco recommendations, we will look into whether it is possible to increase internal funding or borrowing further, and reduce the charge on passengers." Meanwhile, fees for carriers will "go back to their pre-2000 levels", reversing a 15 per cent cut in landing and parking fees - HK$25,790 and HK$2,490 for a Boeing 747 - in place since 2000. Cathay Pacific welcomed the news, but hinted the authority was "capable of financing the construction … through its own means without the need to impose additional financial burden on users". Dragonair also said the project could be self-funded. Pan-democratic lawmakers expressed worries over the apparent attempt to bypass Legco. Democratic Party transport policy spokesman Wu Chi-wai accused the authority of playing "financial tricks". "One should bear in mind the lesson of the cross-border high-speed railway, which was passed in haste and is now witnessing problems during construction," Wu said, referring to a major legal sticking point over a joint immigration checkpoint. He also said that, by withholding dividends to the government, the authority was in effect using public money to fund the works. Lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who sits on the authority's board, said he proposed in a board meeting yesterday that the government seek Legco support by tabling a motion, "otherwise the project should not be started". Analysts expected the authority to face higher costs as the government had warned repeatedly of increases in interest rates. A source at the authority, however, said it had considered this factor. Lam said the authority would "bear all responsibility" for any cost overruns. Apart from the new runway, other new facilities include 57 parking aprons, a runway concourse and an expansion to Terminal 2. The project will cover 650 hectares of reclaimed land, including the Chinese white dolphin's marine habitat. Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the current dual-runway system was fast reaching capacity and that a third airstrip was needed to help maintain the city's competitiveness. "The third runway system is more than a transport infrastructure project. It is essential to keep our economy going." ^ top ^

Hong Kong artists gather honours, attention at Art Basel and Art Central (SCMP)
2015-03-18
It wasn't just overseas artists who took centre stage at Art Basel and Art Central. Hong Kong artists also shone, collecting honours and interest from local and overseas collectors, as well as museum directors and the general public. While they appreciated the exposure, the artists expressed the hope that the public would also pay attention to their works outside the fair period as the art market did not necessarily present their artworks in the right context. Hong Kong artists Samson Young and Trevor Yeung were honoured at Art Basel. Both were on a three-strong shortlist in the BMW Art Journey award for emerging artists, alongside New York-based artist Mika Tajima. All three will now submit proposals and compete for the final award by the end of April. Another Hong Kong artist, Vivian Poon, was awarded the Rise Award at Art Central. Young caught attention with his Pastoral Music, at the am space gallery booth. Described as a "sound art performance", it examined Hong Kong's involvement in the second world war and the role of artists during conflicts. Young said displaying his works at the fair made them more accessible to an international audience and the general public, but he felt sad that the public focused on artists only around the time Art Basel was on. "It's sad," he said. "We work and hold exhibitions at other times, but we have to rely on this occasion to be seen. Our art scene is inadequate." Young said he hoped there would be a greater turnout for galleries and museum displays. "This is a dilemma. We can't just have fairs," Young said. Hong Kong artist Lui Chun-kwong, who had a solo exhibition at Gallery Exit, said it was difficult to stage solo exhibitions at museums here. "But Hong Kong artists are getting more exposure despite the commercial nature of these international events. It has had an impact on local institutions," he said. The five-day Art Basel closed yesterday with nearly 60,000 visitors - slightly down on last year's figure as the fair extended its VIP showings to two days, while cutting the public section to three. Galleries exhibiting at the fair said they had seen a more sophisticated crowd this year, and more collectors from the West. "It works better for us this way as we can focus on the business side first before presenting our artworks to the public," said Mimi Chun of Hong Kong's Blindspot Gallery, which presented Trevor Yeung's photography-based artworks. Other Hong Kong artists such as Leung Mee-ping and Wilson Shieh were also showcased at the fair. Tokyo's ShugoArts sold a work by Lee Kit for US$35,000. "Hong Kong artists are beginning to enjoy a harvest this year with more international recognition, which they deserve," Chun said. ^ top ^

Hong Kong edges closer to working hours laws as government advisers reach agreement (SCMP)
2015-03-19
Hong Kong employers should be obliged by law to state clearly in their contracts the number of hours their staff work and how they should be compensated for overtime, government advisers have said. Members of the standard working hours committee reached the agreement at a meeting yesterday, after a report the panel commissioned found that 23 per cent of the city's working population toiled for 511/2 hours a week or longer. "We have agreed that we should walk in the direction of legislation in our working hours policy," committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung said. "The contract between the employer and the employee should state clearly how many hours they need to work, what happens if they work overtime, and their meal times and rest time. All of those need to be stated clearly." Members also agreed that working hours should not be standardised at the same level for all jobs, given that different jobs had different natures. Leong is confident the committee will be able to submit a report to the government before its term ends next year. While employers said this suggestion offered them flexibility since they could bargain with their staff over weekly working hours, labour activists said it was a "joke" as employers could choose not to offer overtime payments if employees agreed. Unions have been calling for a working week of between 40 and 44 hours, with workers paid 1.5 times their usual wage rate for overtime. Leung Chau-ting, an employee representative on the committee, said there was heated debate within the committee about the nature of the legislation. "The consensus is that there should be legislation. But if we do not provide a standard for the number of hours that workers from different sectors need to work and how they should be compensated, workers will have little bargaining power," he said. In January, a report commissioned by the committee showed that 728,100 people out of a workforce of 3.1 million put in at least 511/2 hours a week, a level defined as "relatively long". It also found that a quarter worked overtime, but 71 per cent were not paid for the extra hours. Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said the committee's suggestion was a "joke". "Now the committee is just making it clear how employers can exploit workers by letting the employers specify the long hours their workers need to work in employment contracts," he said. Simon Wong Kit-lung, executive director of restaurant chain LH Group, described the committee's suggestion as a "moderate" one. "It is a reasonable suggestion and should not have a big impact [on an employer's business]. That's because employees can negotiate with their bosses on the terms in their contract," he said. Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, also said the suggestion offered employers flexibility, as long as the bosses were not required to state when meal times should be. "It's hard to predict when restaurants will get busy as it can be different every day," he said. Another government report projected that employers would have to pay an additional HK$8 billion to HK$55.2 billion a year in labour costs. The government also generated 27 scenarios of the likely impact by taking into account various reform elements, including overtime pay. ^ top ^

Hong Kong police told to 'be stricter over public gatherings of at least three people' (SCMP)
2015-03-20
All police officers are to enforce laws governing public order "more strictly" to prevent any "suspicious" gathering of at least three people from turning into a protest, according to a new guideline from the top cited by multiple police sources. The new direction, coming from the force's management last week, spells a focus on "preventive" handling of unauthorised protests and is meant for immediate implementation in each district, the sources say. It is understood that a post-Occupy Central style of protest in Mong Kok, along with occasionally chaotic gatherings against parallel-goods traders since last month, are reasons behind the police bosses' stress on enforcing the Public Order Ordinance. "If officers deem a gathering likely to cause any breach of the peace or threat to public safety, we would not allow the participants to proceed," a source said. "We would demand that they produce identification and disperse, and follow them around if they did not leave. Anyone who refuses to comply can be arrested for obstructing police." He said the force wanted to ensure "consistency and a closer adherence" to the law across districts at a time when anti-trading protests were spreading. If necessary, another source said, the crack Police Tactical Unit would be deployed to patrol the streets. The stipulated enforcement actions are provided for under the ordinance, which since 1967 has outlawed any gathering of three or more people without police permission. The law came into force that year to crack down on pro-Beijing leftist riots against British colonial rule. It was briefly relaxed during the final years ahead of the handover - so protest organisers need only notify the police of their plans - but was reversed after 1997, making it a must to obtain prior police approval. It is seen as unlawful assembly if at least three people behave "in a disorderly, intimidating, insulting or provocative manner". Before Occupy in September, strict use of the law was mainly applied on suspected triad members, another source said. "Before the Occupy movement, if police found a group of people wearing masks and carrying rucksacks gathering on the streets at night, we would check what they were up to and consider whether they were linked to triads," a senior police officer said. He said the force was only being extra tolerant during and after Occupy, by letting people gather without approval. "We showed them more than enough tolerance during Occupy." But the force is taking a stronger line in the wake of so-called gau wu protests that obstruct Mong Kok traffic, as well as aggression against what protesters call "cross-border smuggling". At these protests, some of which are pre-approved, participants are known to have split up into groups and stayed on after declaring their action has ended. Icarus Wong Ho-yin, of the Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer, said the guideline asked officers to exercise their subjective judgment and would encroach on the basic right to assembly. "Unless the people are all armed or are engaging in provocative acts such as shouting insults at parallel-goods traders, police have no grounds to break up a peaceful crowd," Wong said. He said the force should exercise restraint, since the cost of lodging a judicial review to reverse any police decision would be daunting. Yesterday, the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group withdrew its application for an anti-trading protest in Sheung Shui this Sunday, police said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chinese mainland to give Taiwan priority in opening-up (Global Times)
2015-03-16
Chinese mainland will give priority to Taiwan in terms of the depth and intensity of opening-up, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday. Li made the remarks while answering a question from a Taiwan reporter at the press conference after conclusion of the annual legislative session. He asked the reporter to convey the message to people in Taiwan, which he believed "will be reassuring." The Premier also pledged to continue protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the Taiwan-funded enterprises and Taiwan business people on the mainland, and providing proper preferential policies to them. "People on both sides of the Taiwan strait are members of one big family, as long as we continue to adhere to the One-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, oppose Taiwan independence and uphold peaceful development for cross-strait relations," he said. To boost the economic cooperation of the two sides, he noted that "two wheels" should be set in motion. "One is to enhance institution-building, for example, to continue to pursue the follow-up consultation of ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement), while the other wheel is about further mutual opening-up," he said. We welcome people from Taiwan businesses, particularly young people, to pursue their career in the mainland, and enhance personnel interflow, so as to "bring the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the strait even closer to each other," he said. A total of 136 investment projects from mainland businesses were given green light in Taiwan in 2014. Statistics show that investment in Taiwan from the mainland reached 334.63 million US dollars last year. In the meantime, 388 Taiwan investment projects on the mainland were approved by the island in 2014. The investment totaled 9.83 billion US dollars, a 13.18 percent increase from 2013. ^ top ^

Residents from more cities can visit Taiwan on individual tour (Global Times)
2015-03-18
Residents from 11 more Chinese mainland cities can visit Taiwan on individual tours, authorities announced on Wednesday. The fifth batch of approved cities are Haikou, Hohhot, Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Changzhou, Zhoushan, Huizhou, Weihai, Longyan, Guilin and Xuzhou, according to the Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits. Since the first pilot scheme in 2011, residents from 47 mainland cities have been given permission to enter Taiwan on individual tours. ^ top ^

Rally expected on trade pact protest anniversary in Taiwan (Global Times)
2015-03-18
Another protest against cross-Straits trade pacts is expected to take place in Taipei on the first anniversary of the 2014 protest on Wednesday, with analysts urging the island to rationally tackle the issue to prevent a further drag on its economy. The demonstration will reportedly include a "peaceful" rally outside the "Legislative Yuan" in the morning and a meeting in the evening near the legislative building. Police in Taipei said that about 300 people would show up in the morning and the number could exceed 2,000 by evening, local news portal chinatimes.com reported. Hosted by the Economic Democracy Union, an anti-trade pact group, the evening gathering will bring up new demands from the protesters, including a halt to cross-Straits negotiations on a goods trade pact, said the group's Facebook page. Local police will add security for the forthcoming activities. At least 500 police officers are to be stationed near local government buildings, with another 500 said to be on standby. A live online broadcast on the draft regulation to review cross-Straits pacts will take place on Wednesday. Hsia Li-yan, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, will offer an interpretation on the regulation and answer netizens' questions, Taiwan-based ETTV reported. "The broadcast would serve as a channel to communicate with the public, as previous conflicts involving trade pacts occurred due to a lack of communication," said a spokesperson of the "Executive Yuan." Thousands of people participated in a month-long occupation of the "Legislative Yuan" in March 2014 as they protested against the cross-Straits service trade pact, claiming that the pact might leave Taiwan vulnerable to economic and political pressure from the Chinese mainland. Analysts pointed out that despite the efforts of local authorities to promote cross-Straits trade pacts, changing public opinion on the pacts remains slow. "As antagonism grows between the two parties competing in the 2016 regional leader election, it is unlikely that the Kuomintang (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would work together on the trade pact agreement," Hung Chi-kune, a political advisor of newly selected Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, told the Global Times. The ruling KMT party - which has been actively promoting the trade pacts - lost by a landslide in last year's election, giving the DPP an edge in the 2016 election. Wang Jianmin, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times that last year's protest has left a profound impact on cross-Straits relations and made trade cooperation more difficult. "The protest reflects anti-mainland sentiment." "[Failing to reach an agreement on the trade pacts before the leader's election] would have a negative impact on Taiwan's economy, which has already fallen behind in trade and economic cooperation with the mainland compared to South Korea," warned Hu Benliang, another CASS research fellow. "The island's economic problems would become more severe and Taiwan would be increasingly marginalized in regional economic cooperation efforts if it fails to seize this opportunity," Hu added. Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that the Chinese mainland will maintain appropriate preferential policies toward Taiwan. He also pledged to give priority to Taiwan in terms of the depth and intensity of opening-up, urging strengthened cross-Straits economic and trade ties. It would be easier for the public to support the trade pact with better cross-Straits relations, and major breakthroughs can be expected this year if two high-level meetings are held, Hung said. The general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping might meet with the newly-elected KMT chairman Chu Li-luan this year. Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je may also attend the Shanghai-Taipei City Forum later this year. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Australia changes mind on China-proposed Asian infrastructure bank (Xinhua)
2015-03-17
Australian leaders have been lining up in the past few days to voice support on Australia's joining of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a conspicuous U-turn from the cabinet's previous stance. The latest wave of support came after the United Kingdom announced to join the discussion with China on the 50-billion-U.S. dollar development bank. Treasurer Joe Hockey was the first to say last Friday that Australia will consider joining the AIIB. "This is something that will obviously be taken into account by the government over the next few weeks as we continue our dialogue with those people behind the bank," Hockey said. "Quite obviously China has improved the governance structure it is proposing for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank," he added. Prime Minister Tony Abbott then made the same remarks during an interview with Sky News on Sunday. "Our position all along has been that we are happy to be part of something which is a genuine multilateral institution such as the World Bank, such as the Asia Development Bank," Abbott said. On Monday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop became the latest to join the choir, saying Australia has "considerable interest" in joining the bank. "It has always been our intention to discuss this matter with China, to negotiate with China, we've put forward a number of concerns that we had, they have taken them on board and we've been working through those issues with China," Bishop told reporters. Her words are of more significance as it was Bishop who at a cabinet National Security Committee meeting last year argued against Australia's involvement in the bank, quoting the bank's governance, transparency and accountability as concerns. The United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea have initially declined to support the bank last year, citing concerns about its governance. The bank is being promoted by China as a way of financing regional development. However, the United States sees it as an instrument of China to exert influence in the region. Twenty-one countries including China, India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Beijing in October last year to build the bank. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on March 6 that 27 countries had applied to join the bank as founding members. Australia's refusal to join the AIIB as one of the founding members had got thumbs down across business sector and by many political figures. Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating told Australian Financial Review in November last year that China's effort should be respected. "The West and the United States said they wish China would conduct in a multilateral structure. But when China proposed one like the AIIB, they rejected," Keating said, "China's effort in working in a multilateral system should be supported not resisted. " Ian MaCubbin, then National President of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC), told Xinhua in November last year that the bank is a significant proposal, and is one which should be given serious consideration. "From ACBC's viewpoint, it's important to be part of the organization from the beginning so that if there are opportunities, Australia would try to shape the organization to address the concern, to fulfil its best possible role as a multilateral bank and provide much-needed infrastructure capital in Asia," he said. Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox commented on Monday that the government is right to rethink its opposition to joining the AIIB. As the global economy's centre of gravity shifts from the Atlantic to China, it was essential that Australia was part of the change, he said. "By reversing its opposition... the government would be positioning Australia to be an active participant in this changing landscape, not simply a bystander," Willox said in a statement. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen teamed up to show support to the joining of the bank, while taking the opportunity to attack Bishop who, as they accused, "totally mishandled" the issue and was now playing catch-up. The government should have announced its support for the bank months ago, according to the Plibersek and Bowen. ^ top ^

France, Germany and Italy to join China-backed bank (China Daily)
2015-03-17
France, Germany and Italy have agreed to follow Britain's lead and join a China-led international development bank, dealing another blow to US efforts to keep Western nations out of the new institution, the Financial Times said on Tuesday. The newspaper, quoting European officials, said the decision by the four countries to become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was a major setback for Washington, which has questioned if the new bank will have high standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards. The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year to spur investment in Asia in transportation, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure. It was seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. China said earlier this year a total of 26 countries were founder members, mostly from Asia and the Middle East. Japan, Australia and South Korea remain notable absentees in the region, though Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at the weekend he would make a final decision on AIIB membership soon. South Korea has said it is still in discussions with China and other countries about its possible participation. Japan, China's main regional rival, has the biggest shareholding in the Asian Development Bank along with the United States. ^ top ^

Firm takes stake in French airport (China Daily)
2015-03-18
The Shandong provincial government has approved the acquisition by Shandong Hi-speed Group Co Ltd of a 49.99 percent share in Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, the fourth-largest in France, for 308 million euros ($326.39 million). The Shandong Development and Reform Commission released the specific acquisition program on its official website early this month. Shandong Hi-speed Group, a State-owned investing and operating company involved in the road, rail and maritime transport segments, together with Friedman Pacific Asset Management Ltd, a Hong Kong-based investment company, formed a consortium to complete the acquisition, according to the local government's announcement. The French government and authorities will retain a 50.01 percent stake in the airport. France chose the Chinese consortium from among a field of bidders in late 2014. "The consortium has the ambition to develop the airport, based on the dynamic and attractive regions of Toulouse," said a statement released by French officials in December. Employment and airport traffic are forecast to increase after the acquisition, it said. The consortium has taken into consideration the long-term interests of the European aircraft builder Airbus SAS, which is based in Toulouse, the statement said. The question was whether the acquisition would limit Airbus' capacity to expand production or raise its costs of using the airport. Airbus has said that the decision on the new shareholding of Toulouse airport does not affect its flight operations activities at the airport. Passenger throughput at the airport was 7.5 million in 2013, with cargo shipments of 60,000 metric tons, according to its annual report. Total assets were about 317 million euros that year, with operating revenue of 117 million euros. China's strong outbound tourism market and the euro's weakness are prompting Chinese companies to invest in transportation infrastructure in Europe, experts said. Statistics from the French tourism authority show that 1.7 million Chinese travelers visited France in 2013. Inbound arrivals from China were estimated at 2 million in 2014. "As a State-owned company, Shandong Hi-speed Group's acquisition may make it easier for Chinese carriers to launch routes from Shandong province to Toulouse, since plenty of Chinese local governments are interested in international routes", said Li Xiaojin, a professor at the Tianjin-based Civil Aviation University of China. As a builder and operator of high-speed transit, Shandong Hi-speed Group may look into more opportunities for high-speed road development in France, Li said. ^ top ^

France, Germany and Italy 'to join China-led development bank' (SCMP)
2015-03-18
The number of European countries opting to join a China-led international development bank is a vindication of Beijing's efforts to raise its influence in global economic affairs and a sign of Washington's declining dominance in the area, analysts say. Germany, France and Italy have followed Britain in announcing that they plan to join a proposed Chinese-led Asian regional bank that has been viewed with concern by Washington. France yesterday confirmed that it was joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and a German finance ministry statement said it "could provide funds for addressing the large infrastructure needs in Asia" and contribute to global growth. Other major regional economies including Australia and South Korea were also considering whether to stay with the US in shunning the US$50 billion bank that is seen as a rival to the Washington-based World Bank. Switzerland and Luxembourg, too, were considering joining. China's finance ministry said it welcomed the decision of France, Italy and Germany to join the AIIB as founding members, Xinhua reported. Last week the UK said its decision to become a founding member of the AIIB was in its national interest, shrugging off US concerns about the move. The Financial Times, quoting European officials, said the decision by the four leading European economies to join the AIIB was a blow for Washington, which has questioned if the bank had sufficiently high standards of governance as well as environmental and social safeguards. "It is a great success for the government's efforts to bolster China's role in global economic affairs, and also a testament to China's rising economic influence,' said Jianguang Shen, chief China economist at Mizuho Securities Asia. "It has also weakened US dominance of the global financial system," Shen said. Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Securities, said the move suggested China was "getting more cooperation from other developed economies and that helps strengthen China's integration with the global economy." Shen said the bank would elevate the region as a highly attractive growth and business centre. Wang said it was also good for the region where demand for infrastructure projects and their funding remain high. However, the top US diplomat for East Asia yesterday signalled there were still concerns, but the decision on whether to join was up to individual nations. "Our message to China consistently has been to welcome investment in infrastructure but to seek unmistakable evidence that this bank … takes as its starting point the high watermark of what other multilateral development banks have done in terms of governance," US regional assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel said in Seoul. Meanwhile, Japan, China's main regional rival, has the largest shareholding in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with the US, and the Manila-based bank has a Japanese head by convention. Japan is unlikely to join the AIIB but the head of the ADB, Takehiko Nakao, told the Nikkei Asian Review that the two institutions were in discussions and could cooperate. ^ top ^

Why Europe dismisses U.S. concerns and to join AIIB (Xinhua)
2015-03-19
The euro zone's biggest economies -- Italy, France and Germany -- have Britain in dismissing U.S. concerns and will become founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Experts say the development is a diplomatic and financial success for China, which is behind the new financial institution, and shows how Europe is prepared to look east for trade deals. The news comes amid increased pressure on the United States to relinquish its domination of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and coincides with Chinese and European concerns over America's dominance of trade in the Pacific. European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva welcomed the new European cooperation with Beijing. "Under-investment in infrastructure is a global challenge," she said, adding that "in Asia, as in Europe, there are extensive needs for investment. Increased investment in Asia's infrastructure is highly welcome and is also a business opportunity for EU companies." Her declaration came after U.S. Secretary Treasury Jack Lew had urged caution over AIIB membership. "Whoever joins the new AIIB should first make sure it adheres to rigid standards," he said. "They must protect workers and the environment. There must be no corruption." But a joint statement by the foreign and finance ministers of Germany, France and Italy said they would work to ensure the AIIB "follows the best standards and practices in terms of governance, safeguards, debt and procurement policies." A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the new bank would be "open, inclusive, transparent and responsible." The AIIB was launched in Beijing last year to spur investment in Asian transport, energy, telecommunications. China said earlier this year a total of 26 countries had been included as AIIB founding members, mostly from Asia and the Middle East. The participation of the four biggest European economies is particularly significant. European finance pundits have welcomed the news. Professor Stefano Gatti, a banking expert at Milan's Bocconi Business School, told Xinhua that China's status as an emerging economic power was behind European willingness to participate in the venture. "I think this new joint venture is simply about European countries wanting to invest in a huge emerging economy," he said. "I don't see anything suspicious or shady, or any political interference." Nonetheless, some senior U.S. officials still see the AIIB as a Chinese ploy to reduce its influence over the international banking system. The United States has sought to persuade regional allies such as Australia, South Korea and Japan to snub the bank. However, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at the weekend he had yet to make a final decision on whether or not to join. While Japan is unlikely to join the AIIB, the Japanese head of the Asian Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao, has said that the two institutions were in discussions and might work together. Unusually, the United States even appeared to criticize Britain, one of its closest allies, for becoming a founding member of the AIIB. But significantly, the British government shrugged off the U.S. unease. "There will be times when we take a different approach," a spokesperson for British Prime Minister David Cameron said. British finance minister George Osborne hailed the country's participation. He said that joining the AIIB at the founding stage would create "an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together," underlining that this was one diplomatic mission in which the United States had not got its own way. Another British government official, who would not be named, said that with Britain's long-term participation in the European Union in doubt, it made sense to cement trade ties with China and the Asian markets. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has upped pressure on the U.S. Congress to approve reforms that would allow emerging powers such as China to have more say in the running of the IMF. "Critically, we are seeking Congressional approval of the IMF quota and governance reforms," Lew told a hearing of the House of Representatives financial services committee on Tuesday. "Our international credibility and influence are being threatened," he admitted. Lew noted that due to delays in introducing reforms, emerging-market powers were making parallel multilateral financial institutions of their own. As a result, BRICS nations announced their own development bank in 2014, and now, he said, China had launched the AIIB. Italy's leading business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore has also criticized the U.S. "contradictory position." It noted that the United States had "reacted badly to the participation of several European countries, including Italy, in the AIIB. But if the United States paralyzes the international system that it leads, there's no surprise in European nations trying to build their own bridge with Beijing for growth and development." ^ top ^

China calls on countries interested in AIIB to join by March 31 (Global Times)
2015-03-19
China has called on all countries interested in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to make their decisions before the deadline on March 31. "March 31 is the deadline for countries to apply to join the bank as founding members, but the door will always be open for interested countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing on Wednesday. The China-proposed AIIB, with an expected initial subscribed capital of 50 billion US dollars, will be an international financial institution to fund infrastructure projects in Asia. It is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015. Twenty-one countries including China, India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding last October in Beijing on creating the bank. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on March 6 that 27 countries had applied to join as founding members. Germany, France and Italy on Tuesday confirmed their respective intentions to join the AIIB, in the wake of Britain's application last week to be a founding member. The bank has drawn concern from the United States that the new institution should incorporate the high standards of the World Bank while Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have yet to express interest in joining. "China, Japan and the ROK will surely exchange views on issues of mutual interest during the three-way foreign ministers' meeting on March 21, with the possibility of discussing (AIIB-)related issue," Hong said. He reiterated that the bank would benefit developing Asian countries that lack infrastructure funds and would adopt the best practices of other multilateral development banks. "China upholds an open and inclusive attitude in the building and operation of the bank. We're confident that the AIIB will become a sound platform for Asian economic development," he said. ^ top ^

China's Finance Ministry welcomes Luxembourg to join AIIB (Xinhua)
2015-03-20
China's Ministry of Finance on Thursday night welcomed the decision made by Luxembourg to apply joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Luxembourg will become a founding member if other members approve, according to a statement on the ministry's website. Luxembourg on Wednesday officially announced its application to joining the bank as a prospective founding member and submitted its candidacy to China. The AIIB, an international financial institution aiming to provide support to infrastructure projects in Asia, is expected to be established by the end of this year. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on March 6 that 27 countries had applied to found the bank. The application deadline is March 31. Britain, France, Germany and Italy have previously applied to be founding members. ^ top ^

 

DPRK
China appoints new ambassador to DPRK (Xinhua)
2015-03-19
China has appointed Li Jinjun, deputy head of the CPC Central Committee's International Department (IDCPC), as new ambassador to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). President Xi Jinping made the appointment in line with decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said a press release of the nation's top legislature on Wednesday. Li, 59, will be the second Chinese ambassador to the DPRK chosen from the IDCPC, following ambassador Liu Hongcai, who ended his five-year mission in the northeast Asian country in February and is now deputy head of the IDCPC. Li majored in German at Shanghai International Studies University in the early 1970s. As a seasoned diplomat, he has served as ambassador to Myanmar from 2001 to 2005 and ambassador to the Philippines from 2005 to 2007. China sent its first ambassador to Pyongyang in 1950. Li will be the 17th envoy. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia starts his official visit to Germany (Infomongolia)
2015-03-16
Upon an invitation of the President of the Bundestag, Professor Norbert Lammert, Mongolian Parliamentary delegates led by Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD are conducting an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany on March 14-18, 2015. The Speaker Z.Enkhbold is accompanied with Chairman of Mongolia-Germany Parliamentary Group at the State Great Khural MP L.Bold, MP L.Erdenechimeg, MP U.Enkhtuvshin, MP Ts.Nyamdorj, MP Z.Bayanselenge and other officials. On March 15, 2015, the delegates were welcomed by the Lord Mayor of the City of Hannover, Stefan Schostok and during the meeting, Speaker Z.Enkhbold noted that he and his delegates were glad to start their official visit with Hannover city, where the world's largest and most international computer expo CeBIT commences. In his remarks, Speaker of Mongolian Parliament said, “At the recently organized ITB Berlin-2015 event, Mongolia for the first time successfully participated as an official partner country, which resulted to broaden bilateral relations in particular in tourism sector. Some Aimags of Mongolia have been partnering with Bavaria and Hessen States of Germany by establishing agreements of cooperation and furthermore, parties intend to develop provincial active collaboration”. On the same day, Speaker Z.Enkhbold was received by the Minister President or Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil and during the meeting, Speaker underlined, “The Federal Republic of Germany is a main partner country of Mongolia in Europe and as a milestone of growing comprehensive partnership in many sectors, the two countries' cooperation has not only been developing since Mongolia's transition to a democratic society, but also it is a fact that the ties were actively grown in 1920s when first Mongolians abroad were trained in higher education in Germany”. The first day official visit to Germany was concluded by attending in the opening of CeBIT 2015 fair trade, where Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold was invited to participate as a Guest of Honor. The CeBIT 2015, Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication, is an annual big industry trade show held every year inaugurated in 1970, where this year the People's Republic of China is participating as Partner Country for CeBIT 2015 and IT leading companies from over 100 countries have been attending and the event was opened by Lord Mayor of the City of Hannover, Stefan Schostok; President of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, Prof. Dieter Kempf; Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, Jack Ma; Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel; Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, Ma Kai, and Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka. During the biggest IT event, Speaker Z.Enkhbold held a brief meeting with the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel. ^ top ^

Russian and Mongolian Emergency sectors to broaden close cooperation (Infomongolia)
2015-03-17
The Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, Ukhnaa KHURELSUKH is attending the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction taking place in Sendai, Japan on March 14 -18, 2015. At this Conference, 18 heads of state and over 100 Ministers have gathered to complete assessment and review of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action; to consider the experience gained through the regional and national strategies/institutions and plans for disaster risk reduction and their recommendations as well as relevant regional agreements within the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action; To adopt a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction; to identify modalities of cooperation based on commitments to implement a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction; and to determine modalities to periodically review the implementation of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. During the participation, the Deputy Premier of Mongolia U.Khurelsukh expressed the country's position on disaster risk reduction during the General Assembly held on March 14th and on the same day Premier U.Khurelsukh held a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disaster of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Puchkov. Minister V.Puchkov emphasized, “Our two countries need to work closer in the interregional cooperation. If disaster struck, one who is closer should come to save and perform all necessary tasks, and after then the formalities should be completed. In addition, Russia is considering Mongolian colleagues' proposal on food supplies and preparation of canned foods of long-term storage. Currently, we are managing to set up an Arctic Zone and we are interested in your plan to supply with high-quality sheepskin and much more. Our two economies must interact and look for common trends and prospects”. In turn, Deputy Premier U.Khurelsukh noted that the cooperation between the two countries is also one of the factors of good cooperation between the two organizations and said, "I must mention our great gratitude for the assistance of the Russian Emergencies Ministry in the development of human resources and studying opportunities of Mongolian staff in your country". ^ top ^

The 2015 Expo Mongolia International Mining and Multi Sector Trade Fair (Infomongolia)
2015-03-20
On March 23-25, 2015, the “Expo Mongolia” International Mining and Multi Sector Trade Fair will be taking place at the Buyant-Ukhaa Sport Palace in Ulaanbaatar. The event will be hosted for its third consecutive year and has been organized under German “Invest Mongolia 21” Group's investment and management supported by “JV Consult Mongolia” LLC as well as the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Mining, Ministry of Energy, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ulaanbaatar Governing Office. Expo Mongolia is the platform for all industry players, who want to expand their target market on the Asian continent, where at the three-day event, pavilions for Made in Poland - Cooperation Opportunities for Mongolian Companies will be launched with representatives of the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Poland and representatives of leading Polish companies of promoted sectors. Also, the Czech Pavilion organized by the Czech Trade Promotion Agency will be participating for the very first time with four companies of Agromont Vimperk Ltd., MERKO CZ JSC., Gebr. Ostendorf - Osma Ltd., and INCO Engineering Ltd. represented by their respective owners or senior export managers. Moreover, German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy confirmed an official joint stand for Expo Mongolia 2015 with its "Made in Germany" Pavilion. During the Conference, discussions and presentations will be covering topics on "Mining Industry in Mongolia", "Investment Environment and Opportunities in Mongolia", "Anglo American in Mongolia", "Current situation of the Road and Transportation industry and partnerships opportunities", "Power Sector of Mongolia, Policy and Challenges" and "Current situation of Mongolian Geology and Mining sectors and their future". ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Lauranne Macherel
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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