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
  27-30.4.15, No. 570  
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Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China rushes for life across world's reef (Xinhua)
2015-04-27
China is mobilizing all kinds of resources from rescue teams to relief supplies to the earthquake-hit Tibet Autonomous Region and the neighboring Nepal on the other side of the world's highest mountain. The 8.1-magnitude earthquake has killed more than 2,000 and injured another 5,460 in Nepal, while the death toll in Tibet has climbed to 18 with another 55 injured, according to the latest reports. AIDS TO NEPAL : A 62-member Chinese search and rescue team, along with six dogs, arrived in Nepal's capital Kathmandu at about 10 a.m. local time to become the first international heavy urban search and rescue team in the Himalayan country, according to the China Earthquake Administration. At about 5 p.m., the Chinese team spent four hours rescuing a teenager who had been trapped for one day in northwestern Kathmandu. Hundreds of people surrounding the rescue site applauded when they saw the survivor was taken out of danger. The teenage was in stable condition, said Fu Xiaoguang, deputy chief of the team. Rescuers have also found another seven people trapped in the debris in the nearby area and the rescue was expected to last for another six hours, he said. Most of the rescue team members are experienced in earthquake rescue who had participated in domestic or international missions in a dozen of serious earthquakes, including the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Wenchuan in 2008 and those in Japan, Haiti and Pakistan. "A friend in need is a friend indeed," said Mahesh Kumar Maskey, Nepali Ambassador to China, who saw off the rescue team at the airport. "Nepali people will always remember the support and help from China." The Chinese government has decided to provide 20 million yuan (3.3 million U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid to Nepal following the massive earthquake, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday. The aid, including supplies of tents, blankets and generators, will be delivered to Nepal by chartered planes, the ministry said, adding China will offer further support according to Nepal's demands. The National Health and Family Planning Commission has contacted a Chinese medical team stationed in Nepal and instructed them to "take an active part in medical relief work". ^ top ^

China rescue team starts work (China Daily)
2015-04-27
President, premier and foreign minister extend deep condolences to victims of weekend disaster. The first rescue team sent by China arrived in Nepal on Sunday at the scene of the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 2,000 people. The team flew in as the central government in Beijing mobilized support and with more rescuers on their way to the Himalayan nation. The magnitude-8.1 quake struck the landlocked country on Saturday afternoon and also jolted part of China's Tibet autonomous region. Nepal national police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said that to date 2,152 deaths have been reported and about 5,000 injuries. In Tibet, the quake left at least 18 people dead and had affected more than 200,000 by Sunday, Xinhua reported. Shortly after the disaster struck, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi offered their deep condolences to victims. Xi also expressed his confidence that the government in Nepal will tackle the disaster and said China is willing to provide all necessary assistance. On Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement, "The Chinese government extends sincere sympathy to the countries concerned and stands ready to provide assistance." A 62-strong China International Search and Rescue Team left for Nepal early on Sunday morning and later arrived in Kathmandu, the capital. Shankar Koirala, Nepal's joint secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, described the team's arrival as "timely assistance". Later on Sunday, the team spent about four hours in the northwest of Kathmandu and rescued its first survivor, a 20-year-old man. ^ top ^

Chinese fly out of Nepal but some seats come at a steep price (SCMP)
2015-04-27
Beijing acted quickly yesterday to evacuate Chinese tourists stranded in Kathmandu, with roughly 1,000 expected to have flown home yesterday amid reports that some carriers had raised ticket prices. State television reported that the nationals would be flown home on nine passenger flights, including two chartered ones, with a total capacity of about 1,100 seats. At the request of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, China Southern Airlines sent an extra aircraft yesterday to pick up the tourists. Embassy staff were also at the airport in the Nepalese capital to help Chinese tourists secure flights, intervening after at least one Chinese carrier allegedly ramped up ticket prices. "Some airlines have lifted the price of a ticket to 13,000 yuan (HK$16,500). Cashing in on another country's disaster seriously tarnishes our national image," embassy military attache Senior Colonel Liu Xiaoguang was quoted by the Sohu news portal as saying. "I want to smack them." A one-way ticket for the same route in two weeks' time costs about 2,500 yuan on various travel websites. Most tickets from Kathmandu to Guangzhou were sold out and the lowest price, offered by China Southern, was nearly 8,000 yuan yesterday. A 23-year-old woman from Zhejiang province said she and four people she was travelling with were waiting at their hotel after trying to find a flight out of Kathmandu yesterday. "The ticket price was ridiculously high, and we can't afford 8,000 yuan for a ticket, so we are waiting," she told the South China Morning Post. Liu advised mainland visitors stranded at the airport not to buy overpriced tickets, and those who had already bought them to tell the embassy because "the embassy and government will follow up seriously", Sohu reported. Liu told the Chinese military's online news outlet late yesterday that the embassy helped about 1,000 nationals return home, and more than 600 were still at the airport. About 1,000 more Chinese visitors were on their way to the airport. One tourist told state-run CCTV that there was panic when the quake struck "but here we are getting on board a flight back home within 24 hours". "It makes me feel fortunate to be Chinese," she said. In Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi called an emergency meeting with various departments yesterday, pledging to help Chinese nationals get home and to support relief efforts in the quake's aftermath. ^ top ^

China offers 20 mln yuan in humanitarian aid to quake-hit Nepal (Xinhua)
2015-04-27
The Chinese government has decided to provide 20 million yuan (3.3 million U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid to Nepal following the massive earthquake, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday. The aid, including supplies of tents, blankets and generators, will be delivered to Nepal by chartered planes, the ministry said, adding China will offer further support according to Nepal's demands. A massive 8.1-magnitude quake shook Nepal at 2:11 p.m. (Beijing Time), killing more than 2,000 people in the country. A 62-member China International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) arrived in Nepal's capital Katmandu at Sunday noon and started quake-relief work, according to the China Earthquake Administration. ^ top ^

Asean tells China its island-building 'may undermine peace, stability' in South China Sea (SCMP)
2015-04-27
Chinese island-building efforts “may undermine peace, security and stability” in the disputed South China Sea, said a statement by Southeast Asian leaders meeting for a summit today. The statement, yet to be officially released, was prepared on behalf of leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathering in Malaysia for an annual meeting. “We share the serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability,” it said. Today's summit in Kuala Lumpur opens under a cloud caused by fresh evidence in the form of recently released satellite photos showing the scale of Chinese land reclamation. They depict flotillas of Chinese vessels heaping huge amounts of sand on coral reefs also claimed by the Philippines. ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the sea, which is rich in energy reserves, fishery resources, and is a vital conduit for much of world trade. But Beijing claims nearly all of it, and its increasingly bold actions to underline those claims have caused fears of Chinese dominance of the waterway and potential armed conflict. The chairman's statement by Malaysia - which holds the rotating chair of ASEAN this year - instructs the region's foreign ministers to “urgently address this matter” under dialogue mechanisms set up between the bloc and China. The Philippines on Sunday challenged fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “finally stand up” to Beijing and demand an end to reclamation works. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario warned his regional peers in a precursor meeting that China was poised to take “de facto control” of the strategic seaway. But his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman had later brushed aside any expectations of an especially bold ASEAN final statement. Despite its rhetoric of a united ASEAN community, the regional grouping has a history of failing to respond in a robust manner to Beijing due to China's immense trade and diplomatic leverage and because not all ASEAN states have a stake in the maritime disputes. ^ top ^

Chinese medical team arrives to help Nepal quake victims (SCMP)
2015-04-28
A 58-member medical team sent by the Chinese government arrived in Nepal yesterday to help with relief efforts after massive earthquake struck the Himalayan region on Saturday. China also dispatched four Ilyushin IL-76 transport aircraft yesterday to help with the rescue operation, according a military website affiliated with The PLA Daily. China Military Online quoted Colonel Shen Jinke, a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Air Force, as saying the four aircraft were chosen because the division had experience in conducting military operations abroad. Two of the planes will be deployed from Chengdu and the other two will be sent from Kunming. All four transport aircraft, carrying relief personnel and military rescue equipment, were sent to Kathmandu. The medical team, which includes psychiatric specialists, pharmacists and experts in bone treatment, is based in Sichuan province in western China, Xinhua said. The team took 13 tonnes of medical supplies and was expected to stay 10 days to help with relief efforts. A 62-member China International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday. The CISAR team includes rescuers, medical staff, earthquake experts and engineers, as well as six search-and-rescue dogs. Members of the team have worked in disasters such as the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 as well as in Japan, Haiti and Pakistan. "We worked at the scene continuously for a day and night, and forgot that today is the anniversary of China's International Rescue Team," Qu Guosheng, the team's deputy chief, said. Qu was in Nepal last month training local rescue teams. The Ministry of Commerce has pledged 20 million yuan (HK$25 million) in humanitarian aid, including tents, blankets, and generators, to Nepal. ^ top ^

China assumes larger role in building "community of common destiny" (Xinhua)
2015-04-27
After a 8.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal and killed more than 3,000 people, a 62-member Chinese search and rescue team was among the first international aid to arrive. China also promised 20 million yuan (3.2 million U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid to Nepal while several government departments began coordinating help for the Himalayan country. Many people interpret China's quick action as a result of China's proximity to Nepal, which lies on the other side of the Himalayas. They say China is concerned about its large number of tourists there. True. As more Chinese go abroad, it is more common to see Chinese citizens in major international incidents. In the case of war-torn Yemen, the Chinese Navy helped evacuate 629 Chinese nationals and 279 foreign citizens in March. China is also committed to assuming a larger role in building "a community of common destiny" and helping neighboring countries fight natural calamities. In its relations with neighboring countries, China pursues the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. The country's vision is not confined to economic cooperation efforts like the China-proposed "Belt and Road Initiative," which will combine China's modernization with neighboring countries' infrastructure building. As a country regularly haunted by natural disasters, China's relief efforts mainly centered on domestic affairs in the past. In recent years, China's rapid economic growth has enabled it to contribute more to overseas disaster relief. So far, the second largest economy has shown itself as a capable, responsible power. In 2013, China donated one million U.S. dollars to Cambodian flood victims. In 2014, China agreed to provide 50 million yuan to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to support its disaster response capabilities. China also made great contributions to the fight against Ebola in west Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said when addressing Indonesian lawmakers in 2013, China is fully committed to the path of peaceful development and a stronger China will present development opportunities, rather than posing a threat. In the case of Nepal earthquake, we see a larger role from China. ^ top ^

1,600 Chinese fly back home from quake-hit Nepal (Xinhua)
2015-04-27
Chinese airlines have returned more than 1,600 nationals home after a 8.1- magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday, according to the Foreign Ministry. "Within two days of the quake, 12 Chinese civil jets had carried more than 1,600 Chinese stranded at the Kathmandu Airport in Nepal," said a statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Monday evening. The statement said 11 jets -- from Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern, among others -- brought back nearly 900 people on Monday. Another five planes will return 500 more today, the statement said. The Foreign Ministry coordinated with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to return those stranded, the statement said. On Sunday, at the request of the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, China Southern Airlines dispatched an extra aircraft. Air China and China Eastern followed soon after. Currently, Chinese carriers can bring around 1,200 people home every day. The CAAC asked airlines to prepare more flights and prioritize the transport of passengers and humanitarian aid. ^ top ^

China, SK maritime talks (Global Times)
2015-04-28
China and South Korea will start maritime delimitation negotiations this year, a senior official from China's foreign ministry said Monday in Beijing. China and South Korea launched a preparatory meeting in Shanghai for maritime delimitation negotiations in January to deal with boundary delimitation in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. To promote security cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea, they need to enhance communication and manage and control disparities in territory and maritime disputes, said Kong Xuanyou, an official of Asian Affairs at the foreign ministry in a conference in Beijing. ^ top ^

PLA's Moscow debut confirmed (China Daily)
2015-04-28
China's top envoy in Russia confirmed on Monday that the People's Liberation Army will, for the first time, send a contingent to take part in a major parade in Moscow next month. Russia plans to hold grand celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War — the country's term for World War II — on May 9, including a military parade in Red Square. Li Hui, the Chinese ambassador to Russia, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency on Monday, "It will be the first time that China has dispatched a marching contingent to take part in the military parade in Red Square." China's participation in the parade demonstrates fully the strategic coordination between the two countries, the envoy said. On Saturday, the Chinese embassy in Russia told Xinhua that the Chinese honor guards scheduled to take part in the Victory Day parade had arrived in Moscow earlier that day. The embassy said 110 servicemen had arrived to prepare for the Red Square event. Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said the debut of a Chinese contingent in Red Square is a symbolic event as the strategic partnership enters a new phase. Yang said it shows that "the bilateral ties, which are of great significance to the global and regional order, are of a strategic nature and consistency". PLA honor guards took part in their first official parade abroad in 2010 at an international march in Mexico marking the 200th anniversary of the country's independence. Their second overseas appearance was in Venezuela in 2011. Xing Guangcheng, a senior expert in Russian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said events are routinely held on a large scale in Moscow to mark key anniversaries of victory in World War II. In April, New Delhi said a 70-strong Indian Army contingent would take part in the Red Square parade — the first time that an Indian military contingent has participated in Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. Leaders from China and Russia will attend anniversary events held by each country, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier this year. ^ top ^

China, Equatorial Guinea announce all-round partnership of cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-04-29
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on Tuesday and they pledged to lift the bilateral relationship to an all-round partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation. Lauding Obiang as a good friend of the Chinese people, Xi said the friendship between the two nations has become stronger and is deeply rooted in the hearts of their peoples. Xi said China will work together with Equatorial Guinea to turn their traditional friendship into a driving force for their common development and to further advance the relationship. In addition, he suggested the two sides continue supporting each other on their core interests and issues of major concern, maintain the momentum of high-level interactions and boost cooperation in various fields and on various levels. China will encourage Chinese enterprises in advantageous sectors with good-quality capacity to invest in Equatorial Guinea, assisting the African country with infrastructure construction, Xi told the visiting president. Xi said China will also encourage financial institutions to provide Equatorial Guinea with financial support. Besides, Xi looked forward to closer cooperation between the two countries on education, culture, medical care, sport and mass media as well as communication in regional and global affairs, including the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and peace and development in Africa. Echoing Xi's view on ties, Obiang said he appreciates China for the long-lasting assistance for Equatorial Guinea, which he said had strongly pushed the socio-economic development of the African country. Obiang hoped for closer cooperation between the two countries and looked forward to China playing a bigger role in international affairs. Briefing Obiang on a the Asian-African summit in Indonesia, where participants reviewed the Ten Principles of Bandung for International Affairs, Xi said China has always backed African countries' push for independence, peace, stability and development, and that the boosting of friendly cooperation with African countries is a cornerstone of China's foreign policy. "China and Africa have always been a community of common destiny," said the Chinese president, adding that closer China-Africa cooperation is in the interests of both sides. As this year marks the 15th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi said China will make joint efforts with African countries to blueprint cooperation for the coming years. Obiang said African countries still faced great challenges in maintaining stability and promoting development there. Obiang thanked the Chinese side for aiding African countries with no political strings attached, which he said was of vital significance for development. After the talks, a joint statement was issued on establishing the comprehensive partnership of cooperation. Xi and Obiang also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation documents on diplomacy, education, technology, trade, aviation and finance. Prior to the talks at the Great Hall of the People, Xi held a red-carpet ceremony to welcome the Equatorial Guinea president, who is making a state visit to China from April 27 to May 1. ^ top ^

China's top political advisor vows stronger partnership with Algeria (Xinhua)
2015-04-29
Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng met with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal in Beijing on Tuesday, pledging to upgrade comprehensive strategic partnership. Sellal, who is in Beijing for a four-day official visit, is the first Algerian head of government to visit China since the north African country won independence in 1962. Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), hailed the profound friendship, solid political foundation and fruitful cooperation between both countries over the years. China hopes to cement the comprehensive strategic partnership and substantial cooperation alongside Algeria, he said. The CPPCC is ready to enhance exchanges with the Algerian Council of the Nation (Upper House) and the National Assembly (Lower House), in a bid to promote cooperation and cultural exchanges as well as peoples' understandings, Yu said. Algeria and China always trusted and supported each other, said Sellal, while vowing to boost cooperation in trade, culture and other areas. Sellal will also visit Shanghai. China supported Algeria's struggle for national liberation in the 1950s, and was one of the first countries to recognize Algeria's independence. In 1970s, Algeria made significant efforts to help China restore its legal seat at the United Nations, as the UN General Assembly passed a resolution sponsored by Algeria and 22 other countries to restore the rights of the People's Republic of China. ^ top ^

China voices "serious concern" over ASEAN statement on South China Sea (Xinhua)
2015-04-29
China's Foreign Ministry expressed "serious concern" over the ASEAN's statement on South China Sea affairs on Tuesday. Ministry spokesman Hong Lei's remarks came after the Chairman's Statement at the 26th ASEAN Summit said "we share the serious concerns expressed by some Leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea." The ASEAN statement also "reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea." Hong said in a press briefing that China's construction activities in the Nansha islands are totally within the scope of China's sovereignty. It is unimpeachable, he said. He stressed that there is no problem with the freedom of navigation in or flying over the South China Sea under international law. China is firmly opposed to the actions of an "individual country" kidnapping the ASEAN and undermining the China-ASEAN friendship out of its private ends, Hong said. The South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and the ASEAN as a whole, Hong stressed, urging relevant sides to work with China to safeguard peace, stability in the South China Sea and the China-ASEAN ties. China and the ASEAN should enhance strategic communications on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results, Hong added. The ASEAN statement also urged intensified consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to ensure the expeditious establishment of an effective COC. Hong said China and the ASEAN countries are actively pushing forward the consultations on the COC so as to establish the COC based on consensus at an early date. The ASEAN Summit was held on April 26 to 27 in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia. ^ top ^

Assistance reaches Chinese in Nepal (China Daily)
2015-04-29
China is pushing hard to rescue more than 250 Chinese workers trapped at a hydropower station near a quake-hit area of Nepal, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday. The magnitude-7.9 earthquake caused serious damage to the Rasuwagadhi Hydropower station owned by China Three Gorges Co, the country's largest hydroelectric company, according to a statement posted on the company's website. Two workers were killed in Saturday's quake and several others were injured, the website reported, adding there is only two more days of food available to the trapped workers. Rasuwagadhi, located about 67 km from the quake epicenter, is one of three dams in Nepal being built and operated by Three Gorges, which has 417 Chinese employees in the country, according to the statement. Construction of the dam started in February 2014 and will have a total installed capacity of 111 megawatts when complete, it added. The company said rescuers include those from Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region and Chengdu Military Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said the Chinese government has spent 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) on humanitarian aid to Nepal following the massive earthquake. A total of 180 tons of tents, woolen blankets and electric generators were sent to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, on Tuesday, he said. There are about 35 enterprises or joint ventures by Chinese companies in Nepal, including three large enterprises, and more than 2,100 Chinese are living in the country, according to the ministry. Two other hydropower projects reported no injuries. Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, is opening up its vast hydropower potential to help ease chronic power shortages. Three Gorges is one of the world's biggest hydropower developers and its facility on the Yangtze River is the largest hydropower plant in the world. ^ top ^

China and Japan agree to cooperate on pollution (SCMP)
2015-04-30
Japan and China agreed on Wednesday to step up their cooperation in combating air pollution when their environment ministers held their first talks in three years in the latest sign of thawing relations between Asia's two biggest economies. Japanese Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki met separately with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Chen Jining and Yoon Seong Kyu, in Shanghai a day before their trilateral meeting. Chen, who was appointed to the ministerial post in late February, said at the outset of the meeting he was "very pleased" to discuss cooperation on environmental protection with Japan. Mochizuki pointed out to Chen that the two countries had a long history of implementing antipollution measures together and had achieved "good results". Following the meeting, Mochizuki told reporters, "I said we will offer maximum cooperation to China" in its battle against choking smog in many cities, typified by high levels of pollutant known as PM2.5, or harmful particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. Mochizuki quoted Chen as saying that China wanted to "follow the good example of Japan", which faced similar challenges during its years of economic development. Mochizuki said the first ministerial meeting in three years had "laid out a situation in which officials [of both countries] will be able to adequately consult each other" over future joint programmes. He said he also agreed with Chen, formerly president of China's prestigious Tsinghua University, to encourage local governments of the two countries to collaborate in dealing with PM2.5 issues. Their meeting comes a week after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping - in their second talks in the last five months, held on the sidelines of a regional conference in Jakarta - agreed to promote various exchanges to rebuild trust. The mainland public has become increasingly frustrated with the country's air pollution and environmental problems. For the government of Xi, tackling them has become a top priority, as failing to do so could generate ill feelings among citizens toward his leadership. Despite lingering tensions with Japan over territorial and wartime issues, the mainland is eager to learn from it and other countries about how best to tackle environmental problems. With South Korea's Yoon, Mochizuki said he had agreed to strengthen cooperation on air pollution and marine waste management. ^ top ^

Chinese graft fugitive Cheng Muyang, now a Canada property mogul, seeks refugee status (SCMP)
2015-04-30
Chinese corruption fugitive Cheng Muyang - who has been identified as Vancouver property developer Michael Ching Mo Yeung – is seeking refugee status in Canada as he seeks to evade mainland authorities. Federal Court documents show that rejected refugee claimant Ching Mo Yeung has hired renowned human rights lawyer David Matas, who also represented smuggler Lai Changxing. Michael Ching uses “Mo Yeung” as his Chinese given name, according to documents related to land redevelopment in British Columbia and is the president and founder of Mo Yeung International Enterprise Ltd, a major Vancouver real estate firm. “Ching Mo Yeung” is the Cantonese variant of “Cheng Muyang”, the name under which he is being sought by Interpol. Lai also claimed refugee status in Canada in a last-ditch bid to thwart mainland authorities; he failed, and is now serving a life sentence in China. The South China Morning Post revealed yesterday that Cheng Muyang was Michael Ching. Photographs of Ching from 2011 show the same facial features seen on the man in an Interpol Red Notice, including a distinctive mole on the right eyebrow ridge. The Post's findings were confirmed by Guo Guangyun, a former mid-ranking official who spent years exposing the Cheng family's corruption. Ching has refused to discuss the Post's discovery of his identity, and calls to his office went unanswered on Wednesday. Ching Mo Yeung, whose pursuit of Canadian citizenship has been winding its way through the Federal Court system since at least 2006, has managed to keep some details of his legal history sealed. However, court listings show that the Federal Court in Winnipeg, where Matas is based, has scheduled a special hearing on June 23 for Ching Mo Yeung to challenge the rejection of his refugee claim. The Post asked Matas to confirm that his client was Mo Yeung International's Michael Ching. Matas was also asked to confirm that his client was also Cheng Muyang, as depicted in the Interpol Red Notice. “I cannot respond to queries about clients without authorisation from clients,” said Matas in a carefully worded statement on Tuesday. “If I were to give this response only in cases where persons were clients, the response would become a confirmation that the person is my client. In order for confidentiality to be comprehensive, I cannot respond to the question whether someone is or is not my client, even if the person is not my client. “I can inform you that, as a general practice, when I receive a media inquiry about a client, I do pass it on to the client.” The Post has received no response from Matas' client to its request for an interview. Matas is a vocal critic of China's government who in 2006 co-authored the Kilgour-Matas report on allegations of live organ harvesting in China. He has also condemned Canada's 2011 decision to extradite Lai, who he portrayed as a scapegoat. Cheng Muyang, 45, is the son of Hebei communist party chief Cheng Weigao, who was himself investigated for corruption and expelled from the party in 2003. He died in disgrace in 2010. Cheng Muyang was included last week on a list of 100 fugitives being sought by China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Cheng Muyang emigrated to Hong Kong in 1993, according to state media. Accused of graft and concealing illegal asset transfers, he then fled to Canada in 2000, the CCDI said. Ching Mo Yeung's pursuit of a Canadian passport entered the Federal Courts on June 14, 2006, when lawyer Lawrence Wong filed an appeal in Vancouver against the failure of immigration authorities to have processed Ching's citizenship application. A database of case submissions mentions a July 2006 letter from Ching Mo Yeung, in which he refers to an “alleged investigation” that apparently delayed the decision on his application. In August 2006, Wong filed a fresh application for judicial review of Ching Mo Yeung's case, seeking a “mandamus” order from the court that CIC fulfil their obligation to process the application. The request was successful: In a ruling by Federal Court Judge Yves de Montigny, dated April 10, 2007, Canada's immigration ministry was ordered to “make its best efforts to complete the processing of the application for citizenship on or before Aug 1, 2007.” It was five years before Ching Mo Yeung's case returned to court - and it became obvious that his citizenship application had failed. In April 2012, he launched another case, headed by prominent Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati. Listed as a defendant was Kashi Mattu a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board serving in the immigration appeal division. But Ching Mo Yeung was apparently no closer to Canadian citizenship, because in January 2013, his case was back in Federal Court, with Galati filing a new application for a judicial review of a decision by the government's immigration appeal division dated December 28, 2012. This was rejected by judge Michael Shore in May 2013. It was around this time, during a separate action against Canada's Minister of Public Safety, that Ching Mo Yeung successfully sought to file evidence in the form of a confidential affidavit that would “remain sealed and … may only be viewed by the judge assigned to hear the application, the respondent and counsel for the respondent”. Ching Mo Yeung was also allowed by Judge Michael Manson to file a confidential memorandum of fact about his case. Ching Mo Yeung then applied for refugee status, in either 2013 or 2014. And on August 27, 2014, Interpol issued its Red Notice seeking the arrest of fugitive Cheng Muyang. Less than three months later, Ching Mo Yeung's application for refugee status was rejected, subsequent court action demonstrates. On November 21 last year, with Matas now serving as his solicitor, Ching Mo Yeung sought a judicial review “against a decision [by the] Refugee Protection Division, Immigration and Refugee Board, decision dated 04-Nov-2014”, the federal court database shows. Judge James Russell granted the request and scheduled the June 23 special sitting in Winnipeg. ^ top ^

China's environmental protection experience could benefit world (Xinhua)
2015-04-30
A U.S.-based group said China's inroads in environmental protection can be of benefit to the countries linked by the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Speaking at a symposium held at Tsinghua University here on Wednesday, president of the Environmental Defense Fund Fred Krupp said the Belt and Road initiative features great prospects for both economic and environmental progress. The China-proposed initiative, which will combine its modernization with neighboring countries' infrastructure building, will be a vehicle to apply the lessons China has learned regarding sustainability and green process, he said. Noting China's remarkable progress in this regard in recent years, Krupp said it should become an exporter of ideas as well as of capital. He added that ecological preservation was a common goal across the globe. His words were echoed by Fang Li, assistant secretary-general of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, an advisory body. "Environmental protection is a shared consensus among all nation [...] As a developing country, we understand that in nations involved in the Belt and Road initiative there exists the contradictory mentality of environmental protection versus development," Fang said. "We have rich experiences in this regard. We have learned our lessons, which we are willing to share," she said. Meanwhile, Krupp also said Chinese social groups could play a larger role in future cross-border environmental protection endeavors. He suggested that social organizations march toward the global platform and call for more international exchanges and cooperation in climate change and ecosystem protection. The internationalization of Chinese NGOs could be an importance adjunct to China's Belt and Road initiative, he said. ^ top ^

China willing to help economic, social development in Equatorial Guinea (Xinhua)
2015-04-30
China on Wednesday vowed to support Equatorial Guinea in its economic and social development. China was willing to strengthen infrastructure construction cooperation with Equatorial Guinea to help its industrial process, help train professionals and share with it management experience and practical technology, said Premier Li Keqiang in a meeting with President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Li said China's industrial upgrading and Equatorial Guinea's efforts to promote economic diversity and industrialization presents broad prospects of cooperation for the two countries. Li also asked Equatorial Guinea to ensure more favorable conditions for Chinese investment. Obiang spoke highly of the two countries' friendly ties and cooperation in all areas. He said China was a trustworthy friend and thanked China for its assistance. He said Equatorial Guinea was ready to further expand cooperation and learn from China's own development path. He also welcomed Chinese companies to invest in Equatorial Guinea. Obiang is in a state visit to China from April 27 to May 1 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. Xi held talks with Obiang on Tuesday. ^ top ^

US rapped for stance on Japan (China Daily)
2015-04-30
Beijing has urged Washington to "stop sending wrong signals" after US President Barack Obama backed Japan's claim over China's Diaoyu Islands and accused China of "flexing its muscles" in the South China Sea. Obama made the comment at a joint news conference with visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was due to become the first postwar Japanese premier to address a joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday. Obama, appeared with Abe in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, said, "I want to reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan's security is absolute." Obama said the defense commitment will cover "all territories under Japan's administration", echoing earlier remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry. These included that China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea are within Japan's realm of administration. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing on Wednesday: "We urge the US to take a responsible attitude and remain committed to its promises regarding no side-taking over territorial sovereignty issues. It should stop sending wrong signals and play a constructive role for regional peace and stability." Hong said that "neither the US nor Japan is a stakeholder in the South China Sea issue". The US and Japan should adopt "an objective and fair attitude and stop resorting to any remarks or actions that would complicate disputes and sabotage regional peace and stability", Hong said. Teng Jianqun, an expert at the China Institute of International Studies, said Obama's remarks reflect "a personal priority over the alliance with Japan". Obama's comments about China allegedly flexing its muscles and also on the Diaoyu Islands issue "aim to impress the public that the US gives strong backing to Abe and Japan", Teng said. Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Washington expects Tokyo to fight for US security interests worldwide, and its de facto support for Japan's territorial claim and its "trouble making" over the South China Sea issue will only render Japan "fearless". Coming just ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Abe's visit has prompted demands that he use his trip to officially apologize for Japan's historical wrongdoings and especially to the estimated 200,000women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops. His speech to the US Congress was watched closely around the world. "I wish I could sit smack in the front row... so that he can see right into my eyes," said 88-year-old Yong Soo Lee, one of the last and most outspoken survivors among South Korean "comfort women". When questioned at the news conference, Abe again attributed the "comfort women" issue to "human trafficking". "I am deeply pained to think about the 'comfort women' who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering as a result of victimization due to human trafficking," Abe said, repeating the phrase he used during a speech at Harvard University on Monday. US rapped for stance on Japan Feng Wei, an expert on Japanese studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said Abe has been working on playing down Japan's role 70years ago while highlighting its identity as a victim of World War II. "This has prompted dissatisfaction even from the United States, with some labeling Abe a revisionist of history," Feng said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

21 Chinese among quake fatalities (SCMP)
2015-04-26
At least 21 Chinese have died in Nepal and Tibet, with dozens more missing, following an earthquake that struck outside Kathmandu on Saturday, according to reports. More than 600 Chinese tourists were trapped in Nepal, Xinhua reported. Fourteen flights between China and the Himalayan nation were scheduled for Sunday, including three carrying relief materials. China Southern Airlines is sending an extra aircraft to pick up tourists, at the request of the embassy in Kathmandu. Four of the Chinese deaths were in Nepal and the remaining 17 were in Tibet, state-run China News Service reported. Many more people were missing or injured following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake, it said. Cheng Wen, a senior embassy official, told state-run broadcaster CCTV the deaths in Nepal were two construction workers in Pokhara, and a tourist and a climber at Mount Everest, where the quake triggered a huge avalanche. In Tibet, four people were missing and 55 injured, Xinhua reported. More than 1,100 buildings and a temple were destroyed or heavily damaged. Rescuers had evacuated 12,000 people by the morning. As of 10am, 683 Chinese tourists were stranded in Nepal, Xinhua said. That included 52 tour groups and various individual travellers, according to the China National Tourism Administration. A member of the Chinese Mountaineering Association said 40 nationals were climbing in Nepal when the quake hit and suffered injuries, according to the Tibetan government's website. A team of five women climbers were in the area at the time. A phone number listed on the team's Facebook page was not in service. But The Beijing News quoted team member Han Zijun as saying all four were injured and the team leader had suffered fractures. A photograph of one climber was uploaded to Facebook about 20 minutes before the quake hit. They were from Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shanghai, and all were experienced climbers, the team page said. They arrived in Kathmandu on April 10 to prepare for their hike towards Mount Everest, according to National Geographic magazine which reported on the expedition. In Tibet, the quake toppled 1,191 houses, damaged roads and cut off telecommunications in two counties in Xigaze prefecture which hugs the border. Fifty-four temples were badly damaged, although no casualties have been reported so far, Xinhua reported. Rescuers are trying to reach affected areas, but their efforts are hampered by landslides clogging the road to Nyalam county in Xigaze as well as snow and rain. “Aftershocks are what worry us most at the moment, for there is nowhere to hide,” said Gyanga Tseten, the head of a Xigaze fire brigade detachment and who is leading a 30-member team to Zham, a mountain pass leading to Nepal, according to Xinhua. Aftershocks continued to hit the region – one measuring 5.9-magnitude in Xigaze at 5.17pm on Saturday, and another registering 5.3 in Nyalam at 1.42pm on Sunday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre. ^ top ^

Three top Chinese military officers held in graft probes (SCMP)
2015-04-27
Three senior People's Liberation Army officers, including one from retired military chief Guo Boxiong's former power base, were detained by military prosecutors, the armed forces announced on Sunday. The detention of Zhan Guoqiao, the former head of logistics for the Lanzhou Military Area Command, and Dong Mingxiang, who held the same post in Beijing, underscores the graft problem in that military arm. Zhan Jun, a former deputy provincial commander in Hubei, had also been detained by military prosecutors, a statement on the PLA's official news portal said, citing an "authoritative military department". All three are of major-general rank. Since the PLA changed tack earlier this year and started releasing updates on the graft crackdown in the military, five of the army's seven area commands have lost their logistics chiefs to corruption investigations. The exceptions are Nanjing and Jinan. Graft probes have also claimed former deputy logistics chief Gu Junshan and his successor Liu Zheng at the PLA's headquarters. The announcement on Sunday said that both Lanzhou's Zhan Guoqiao and Hubei's Zhan Jun were investigated in December for suspected serious violations of discipline and their cases were handed over to military prosecutors last month. It confirmed the South China Morning Post 's report on March 2 that Zhan Guoqiao was among more than a dozen major generals being investigated. The statement said Dong was investigated by military prosecutors in March for suspected violations of law. Prominent mainland news outlet Caixin reported two weeks ago that Dong was suspected of bribing his superiors for promotions. President Xi Jinping's administration has vowed to keep going after corrupt military top brass after the death last month of Xu Caihou, the disgraced retired vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. Sources told the Post this month that Beijing had decided to launch an investigation into Xu's counterpart Guo. Guo and Xu both served under former president Hu Jintao. A commentary by "Xie Zhengping" published on the military portal shortly after yesterday's announcement argued that the PLA had been tarnished by corrupt "defectors" before - including ones as senior as marshal Lin Biao who was once heir apparent to chairman Mao Zedong - but the troops had never betrayed the Communist Party or the people. Lin died in a plane crash in Mongolia in 1971 at an apparent attempted defection to the Soviet Union. The article said the ongoing graft crackdown had revealed deep-rooted problems in the military but the PLA should not dismiss the achievements it made in the decade "between the party's 16th and 18th national congresses" - the period when Xu and Guo were in top office. Some officers who were promoted counter to military rules had been demoted in the anti-graft campaign, the article said, while criticising claims that "all PLA ranks have a price and are up for grabs" as rumours peddled by "foreign enemies" with "ulterior motives". ^ top ^

Death sentence commuted for Chinese woman who killed violent husband (SCMP)
2015-04-25
A court in Sichuan province yesterday commuted the death sentence of a woman who killed and cut up her abusive husband, state media reported. The Ziyang Intermediate People's Court gave Li Yan, 44, a two-year reprieve and stripped her of her political rights, the Sichuan Daily reported. The death sentence is likely to be commuted to a prison term after two years of good behaviour. Phone calls to the court went unanswered. Li was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing her husband, Tan Yong. The Supreme People's Court in Beijing approved her death sentence in 2013, but following a strong public outcry, it overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial in June last year. The Ziyang Intermediate People's Court upheld the murder verdict but decided to commute the death sentence, having considered that Li's husband was also at fault and that Li been honest during the investigation, the Sichuan Daily said. In March, the Supreme People's Court and government issued new guidelines on domestic violence cases, including recommendations on sentencing for victims who commit crimes against their abusers. In a letter to a top judge appealing against her death sentence in 2012, Li described how she endured her husband's violence before she killed him - and how her repeated calls for help were ignored. Tan frequently beat her, pulled her hair, banged her head against the wall, stubbed cigarettes out on her face and even hacked off one of her fingers. After an argument on the night of November 3, 2010, her drunken husband threatened to shoot her, then he beat and kicked her. She fatally struck him over the head with a gun barrel, although she said that she did not intend to kill him. She dismembered his body and boiled some of the parts, before asking a friend to report the killing to the police. According to a 2011 survey by the official All-China Women's Federation, one in four women on the mainland have experienced abuse in their marriage. "The reprieve for Li Yan could prove to be a landmark verdict for future cases where domestic violence is a mitigating factor," said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International. "The highest court in China has sent a clear message that judges must not ignore domestic violence." ^ top ^

Mine blast kills nine (Global Times)
2015-04-27
Nine people died from gas poisoning in a mine explosion in Kunming, southwestern China's Yunnan Province, with another 12 were hurt, news portal chinanews.com reported on Sunday. A total of 21 people, who were trapped in the mine in Yinmin township when blasting rocks in the mine, were rescued on Saturday. Two men were found dead at the scene. Another seven died after emergency treatment. Kunming firefighters said the fumes might have led to carbon monoxide poisoning, the Xinhua News Agency reported. ^ top ^

Man freed after 18 years of confinement in Guangdong (China Daily)
2015-04-27
Police in Guangdong province have rescued a man who was kept in captivity for 18 years and forced to work in a local underground workshop, Qingyuan Daily reported. Xie Shisheng, originally from Jiangxi province, didn't even know what year it was when he was rescued from the dark room where he was locked up for nearly two decades. He said he had been forced to work as a slave in the workshop since the age of 16. Police raided the unlicensed factory producing shoddy quilts and pillows in southern Chinese city of Qingyuan on Wednesday after receiving tip-offs from local residents. Xie's captors and owners of the workshop - a couple from his hometown in Jiangxi - had already fled the scene by the time police arrived. ^ top ^

China's graft-busters investigate Sinopec chief Wang Tianpu (SCMP)
2015-04-28
The president of China's largest oil refiner is being investigated on suspicion of corruption, the nation's disciplinary watchdog said on Monday. Wang Tianpu, president of China Petrochemical Corporation, also known as Sinopec, was being investigated for “suspected serious violations of law and discipline”, a euphemism for corruption, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. Wang is the latest senior oil industry executive to be investigated as President Xi Jinping's anti-graft drive puts its focus on state-owned firms. Many of those probed have been linked to disgraced former security tsar Zhou Yongkang. State-run media have referred to the officials as the “oil gang”. The CCDI did not elaborate, but news outlet Caixin said Wang, who became Sinopec's president in August 2011, was suspected of abusing his power to award contracts to family members. He also allegedly favoured Zhou's son, Zhou Bin, with equipment sales. Sinopec said on its Weibo account that it had held a meeting on the investigation into Wang, and that the company supported the anti-corruption initiative. “All people who have violated laws and discipline will be punished regardless of their rank,” it said. The central authorities have been focusing the anti-graft drive, which has been ongoing for two years, on the energy sector. The CCDI said last month that the general manager of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Liao Yongyuan, was being investigated. In February, the CCDI finished a three-month inspection at Sinopec and warned it needed to act against nepotism and other corrupt practices. The group's chairman, Fu Chengyu, vowed to root out corruption, “no matter who was involved”. Wang was promoted in 2001 from being vice-president of Qilu Petrochemical Company to being an executive of its parent company, Sinopec. Since 2001, more than 10 officials of Qilu have been investigated, but Wang was not one of them. Wang made his last public appearance at a Sinopec board meeting on April 24. Last year, he and other company executives were disciplined over an explosion in Qingdao, Shandong prvince, which killed 62 people in 2013. The announcement of the probe into Wang came amid speculation in the Beijing-based Economic Information Daily that Sinopec and CNPC would merge to build a company equivalent to Exxon Mobil or BP. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission denied this. “The story was written without verification from us,” it said. Sinopec is listed on stock markets in Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai. Its shares surged in Shanghai and Hong Kong yesterday on speculation that the government was considering consolidating the industry. ^ top ^

First of 100 wanted fugitives nabbed (Global Times)
2015-04-28
Chinese police arrested the country's first wanted economic fugitive Saturday, four days after the top graft-buster released a list of 100 suspects of economic crimes who fled overseas. Public security bureaus, procuratorate agencies and graft-busters in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces managed to arrest Dai Xuemin, a former manager of a trust and investment company in Shanghai who fled in 2001, on Saturday morning, according to a statement of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Dai is suspected of embezzling 11 million yuan ($1.77 million). He returned to China recently with a fake ID and a foreign passport. Dai may have fled to Belize, the US and South Korea, according to the list. Interpol's National Central Bureau in China on Wednesday released a list of 100 persons wanted worldwide, including 77 men and 23 women allegedly involved in corruption. The move is part of the "Sky Net" anti-corruption campaign that aims to repatriate Chinese citizens suspected of corruption. Experts said that more officials and individuals suspected of economic crimes will be arrested in a much shorter period of time, as the first was nabbed four days after the list was released. Now that the list of fugitives is out, anti-corruption watchdogs are likely to have ample evidence and have even started to negotiate with their foreign counterparts on procedures like repatriation and extradition which can accelerate the arrests, Ren Jianming, an anti-corruption expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times. Yang Xiuzhu, a former deputy head of the former Zhejiang provincial construction department, tops the list. She is allegedly involved in corruption cases involving as much as 253 million yuan. "Evidence of Yang's involvement has been obtained. We've also determined how she fled," said Ren. "Besides, the list released by China can pressure related government agencies, local governments and employers that the fugitives used to work for, to expedite evidence collection and strengthen accountability," he added. "The list enables not only Chinese and international graft busters to get hold of information on those fugitives, but also encourages overseas citizens to provide information once they locate the fugitives' whereabouts," Huang Feng, an expert of international criminal law at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times. According to data provided by the CCDI, the number of fugitives rose in 2002, 2007 and 2012, coinciding with the time that the Communist Party of China holding its 16th, 17th and 18th National Congress. The US and Canada reportedly house two-thirds of the 100 fugitives and have yet to sign extradition treaties with China. ^ top ^

Chinese police 'shot civilians' during militant attack on Xinjiang police station (SCMP)
2015-04-28
Something hideously violent happened in Elishku. Whether it was a separatist attack or a civilian massacre is shrouded in the mists of claim and counter-claim that plague Xinjiang. According to the authorities, 96 civilians and terrorists died when militants attacked a police station last July 28. Residents say that hundreds of people mounted a protest against government restrictions on religion which was brutally put down. "Everyone who joined the crowd is either dead or in jail," said Mahmouti, a local who hid in his home with his wife. "No one has been heard from since, no one knows where they are now." It is by far the bloodiest incident in Beijing's "strike hard" campaign against violence in Xinjiang, launched after an attack on a train station in Urumqi a year ago tomorrow. Residents described more than 500 people, some carrying hoes, axes and other farm tools, marching to meet a line of security personnel with assault rifles. Mahmouti heard them ordering the crowd to "Step back", and moments later, a stream of gunfire. The shooting continued intermittently for hours, he said. "Anyone who went out that day never came back," said Yusup, a farmer. "It was chaos, maybe 1,000 people vanished." The villagers are Uyghurs, a mostly-Muslim minority that in 2010 made up 46 per cent of Xinjiang's population. In recent years violence has become more frequent, and has spread beyond the province. A fatal 2013 car crash in Tiananmen Square struck at the heart of the Chinese state, and a mass stabbing that killed 31 people at Kunming railway station last year was dubbed "China's 9/11" by state media. Another 39 civilians died in a bomb attack on a Han market in Urumqi. Beijing says such attacks are carried out by separatist Islamist terrorists with overseas connections, but rights organisations blame religious repression. The Urumqi station attack came as President Xi Jinping visited the city. "A gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices," Xinhua news agency reported. But residents say a crackdown on women preparing for Eid ul-Fitr sparked the march. Afterwards, all villagers were placed under house arrest for 20 days. They were ordered to a nearby military barracks and told the official version: that militants from elsewhere incited rioters. About two months later, 12 people were condemned to death and 15 more given death with a two-year reprieve. Another 29 were sentenced to jail. That does not account for the hundreds of residents locals say have since disappeared. Exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer said in August at least 2,000 people had been killed. Soon afterwards state media reported that a Uyghur in Xinjiang had been detained for spreading rumours. ^ top ^

Publisher of China's leading pro-reform magazine vows to carry on despite growing pressure from authorities (SCMP)
2015-04-29
The publisher of Yanhuang Chunqiu, the mainland's most outspoken political magazine, has vowed to carry on despite concern that recent stepped-up measures by authorities to rein in the respected publication may finally force it to lose its critical stance. Yanhuang Chunqiu (sometimes translated as China Through The Ages) is known for its outspoken articles that contest official versions of party history, and for years has been under pressure to soften its editorial stance It was able to maintain a relatively liberal stance due to the support of many respected party elders, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s. But the embattled magazine suffered a series of blows in the past year. Fears were raised this month of renewed pressure after it received a warning letter from official censors and its chief editor Yang Jisheng was ordered to leave the magazine. Last September, authorities ordered it to switch its organisational affiliation to the Chinese National Academy of Arts, a body under the culture ministry – a move that rendered the magazine more vulnerable to censors. Like all state publications, it has to operate under a government-linked organisation responsible for its content. Late last year, an effort to save its editorial independence suffered again when Hu Deping, the son of the late liberal leader Hu Yaobang who was to succeed 91-year-old publisher Du Daozheng, was unable to take up the job. Last month, it was forced to cancel its annual dinner for the first time in its 24-year history. To add to its woes, former chief editor Wu Si and three editors under him resigned late last year. Du Daozheng on Tuesday confirmed that the magazine had received a letter from “relevant authorities” this month warning that a number of articles it published in past months had crossed the line. Although the magazine has always been subject to censorship and had to submit several articles to the authorities for approval before every publication, previous admonishment had mostly been verbal. Du said the magazine last received a written warning eight years ago. Former staff say the letter was from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Phone calls to the administration went unanswered on Tuesday. For nearly a decade, the magazine has pledged not to touch upon eight areas that the authorities see as sensitive: multi-party democracy, separation of powers, stories on party leaders and their families, Tibet and Xinjiang pro-independence rhetoric, the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and religious issues. Du said the official letter rebuked the magazine for not submitting a number of articles for endorsement. But Du insisted that the incident arose because it was working with a new supervisory body and said the problem could be sorted out. “It will be okay as long as we pay more attention and submit more articles in the future... there is no need to make too much out of this,” Du said. He insisted that his magazine, whose editorial board members are mostly pro-reform, elderly party members, would maintain its pro-reform stance. He also stressed that the magazine's supporters, many of whom joined the party more than 70 years ago, were trying to help the country do better by expressing views that often differ from the party's official line. “It would be meaningless if we waver (from our position); we will work hard to keep it running,” Du said. “In the past 24 years, there have always been upheavals, sometimes we make mistakes, but we never flinch.” Yang, a retired Xinhua journalist, said this week he would retire before the end of the year. He said his former employer quoted a party regulation that retired staff could not head another media organisation. Yang, 75, who became chief editor after former chief editor Wu Si resigned late last year, said he had originally planned to leave in June because he “felt tired”. But since the magazine needed him, he would leave before year's end. He declined to elaborate, saying he was barred from talking to overseas media. He had worked for Yanhuang Chunqiu for 12 years. Wu Si, the magazine's former chief editor, said the authorities have been tightening ideological controls and as the magazine has published several daring articles since he left late last year, he was not surprised that the authorities have taken stronger measures to rein in the magazine. He gave the example of an article in the January issue that alleged that disgraced deputy naval commander Wang Shouye had the backing of a Central Military Commission leader's personal secretary, who was an ally of ex-president Jiang Zemin. Former executive editor Hong Zhenkuai, who also left the magazine late last year, believed the authorities wanted to bring the publication under tighter control without closing it to prevent an outcry. He expected the recent moves from the authorities would gradually change the magazine's editorial stance and would lose its readership. “In one year, two years' time, it might no longer be influential,” he said. “To let it die gradually is the best scenario (for the authorities).” He said it was clear that the authorities were intolerant of criticism of the party and the suppression of Yanhuang Chunqiu was a manifestation of that trend. The magazine had long represented the voices of party liberals who advocated political reform to make China into a “modern civilisation”, he said. “If they don't allow you to exist, then to a certain extent, the authorities are not... prepared to go down this road [of political reform] – and this would have an impact on China or even the world,” he said. ^ top ^

Chinese babies born in low-smog Olympics year 23 grams heavier (SCMP)
2015-04-29
Beijing's tough air pollution reduction measures for the 2008 Olympics had an unintended benefit: heavier baby birth weights, a study has reported. "These findings not only illustrate one of the many significant health consequences of pollution, but also demonstrate that this phenomenon can be reversed," said David Rich, the study's lead author and epidemiologist with New York's University of Rochester Medical Centre. Babies born to mothers whose eighth month of pregnancy fell between August 8 and September 24, 2008, were an average 23 grams heavier than those born in the same period in the years before and after. "Twenty-three grams doesn't seem big … but for a baby with already very low weight it's a big difference," said Duke University's Professor Jim Zhang Junfeng, who worked on the report. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at birth data from 83,672 babies who were born full-term and whose mothers lived in the Xicheng, Haidian, Fengtai and Chaoyang districts of Beijing between 2007 and 2009. For about 5,000 of these women, the last month of pregnancy coincided with the weeks of the Olympics. Similar numbers gave birth during the same period in 2007 and 2009 when there were no pollution reduction measures, said Zhang. Babies born in 2008 had roughly an average weight of 3.4kg, Zhang added. Babies born weighing less than 1,500 grams show inhibited growth and cognitive development and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases later in life. During late pregnancy, a fetus experiences its most rapid period of development. While the researchers did not know what biological mechanism caused the decreased weights, they said it was possible that pollutants interfered with this period of rapid development. No significant effect on weight was observed before the eighth month, they said. "In China everyone has a single child. They put whatever resources they have into their children. This [paper] sends a strong political [message] to tackle pollution," said Professor Wong Chit-ming, an expert on air pollution at the University of Hong Kong, who was not involved with the study. Wong said that while more studies should be conducted to confirm the results, the study's methodology looked robust and the findings were in line with other studies. Statistical analyses showed it was the air pollution affecting the baby's weight and not the mother's age and education, residential district, gestational age, or pregnancy complications that were causing the difference. During the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, the mainland took aggressive measures to tackle air pollution, halting construction projects, closing factories, restricting vehicle use and seeding clouds to induce rainfall. ^ top ^

China 'increases rights of the public' in legal cases against the government (SCMP)
2015-04-29
Courts in China are to be given powers from next month to rule on whether regulations issued by government departments are unlawful if they are sued by members of the public. The reforms will come into force from May 1, according to a statement from the Supreme People's Court. The government said last year that the suggested changes to the law would make it easier for the public to sue government officials around the country for alleged injustices such as abuse of power and alleged illegal land seizures. China's judiciary and legislature is controlled by the Communist Party, but the country's top court announced plans last July to try to increase the independence of the courts to curb abuses of the legal system. Critics have suggested the reforms do not go deep enough, with party members still drafting the nation's laws and filling the ranks of the judiciary. The regulations issued by the government locally and nationally are colloquially referred to as “red-head documents” as they usually bear the name of the government departments that issued them printed in a red letterhead. A committee of the national legislature approved the latest reforms in November last year. Li Guangyu, the deputy head of the Supreme People's Court's administrative division, said the greater legal oversight of government regulations was vital. “The red-head documents are large in number and can be used repeatedly against certain sections of the public,” he was quoted as saying by the China News Service. “If they ever break the law, the damage they bring is beyond comparison.” Li said the regulations could only be reviewed as part of more general legal actions brought by members of the public claiming government wrongdoing. Jia Qihua, a Beijing-based lawyer specialising in administrative litigation, said the reforms did not go far enough. “If the courts find regulations issued by local governments are problematic, it's hard for them to actually do anything, despite the fact that they have been given the right to do so by law. “We have local courts that are subject to the leadership of the political and legal affairs committee of local party committees. If [citizens] sue local governments, local party committees will want to exert pressure on courts and intervene.” Jia said independent regional litigation courts should be set up to minimise political interference from local governments. “Another option is to achieve judicial independence, to let the judiciary break free from the leadership of the party,” he said. ^ top ^

China awards model workers, urges stronger labor unions (Xinhua)
2015-04-29
An award ceremony on Tuesday championed worker protection, higher working standards and stronger unions. Accolades were awarded to 2,968 model workers at the ceremony, which was held ahead of Labor Day on May 1. Senior leaders, including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, as well as Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, attended the event. In a speech, Xi praised the recipients and called on the nation to respect all workers. He said that workers are "history makers" and "fundamental forces" in China's political and economic development. Physical labor and intelligence are of equal importance, and are worthy of being respected and remembered, the president said. Workers' interests shall be further guaranteed and development shall benefit more workers to motivate creativity and foster enthusiasm, Xi said. Meanwhile, governments at all levels should create more job opportunities and improve working conditions, including training, safety and salary. The president mentioned that a high-quality labor force with more knowledge and advanced skills would support sustainable development. China needs a huge high-quality work force. Measures shall be taken to help cultivate talented workers. Xi also highlighted the importance of unions, demanding that they better link common workers with the Communist Party of China. He called on labor unions to fulfill their duties to protect workers' interests, maintain close relations with common workers and establish friends with foreign counterparts. Chairing the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang expressed hope that the nation would learn from the spirit of the model workers and strive for more achievements and improved livelihoods. He called for stimulating social innovation and market vitality, saying that respecting workers and promoting entrepreneurship will help promote economic growth. ^ top ^

Strawberry sales hit by herbicide scare (China Daily)
2015-04-29
Agricultural authorities in Beijing are investigating reports that excessive amounts of herbicide residue have been detected in strawberries grown in the capital's suburban areas, and farmers were hit by a slump in sales amid consumer fears. China Central Television reported on Sunday that eight strawberry samples purchased from supermarkets, plantations and wholesale markets were found to have excessive amounts of acetochlor, a herbicide that can be carcinogenic when absorbed in large amounts. The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture said on Monday that it will launch a campaign targeting the excessive use of chemicals in the cultivation of strawberries. "We will step up quality tests for strawberry products in the city, and will ban them from the markets once products that fail the tests are found," the authority said. The tests, conducted by researchers at Beijing University of Agriculture, found acetochlor residues ranging from 0.09 mg to 0.367 mg per kilogram of strawberries in the eight samples. The amount was far above the European Union standard, which is 0.05 mg per kilogram of strawberries, according to the State broadcaster. China currently has no standards on acetochlor residues on strawberries. Zhao Jianzhuang, the professor who led the tests on the strawberry samples, could not be reached on Tuesday. The report has already affected the sales of strawberries in Beijing and a number of provincial areas, including Shandong and Liaoning provinces, said Zhang Yuntao, a researcher on strawberry cultivation at the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences. "The farmers were hit very hard by the news report. The prices used to be as high as 40 yuan ($6.40) per kilogram at supermarkets. Now nobody wants the product even at the price of 4 yuan per kilogram," he said. Many researchers, including Zhang, questioned the test results as they believe no herbicides are required in the cultivation of strawberries. "If the herbicide is used in the cultivation process, the strawberry plants would be killed as well," Zhang said. China is the world's largest cultivator of strawberries, with a total cultivation area of 133,300 hectares each year, Farmer's Daily reported. ^ top ^

Premier urges more medical reforms (Xinhua)
2015-04-30
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for more medical reform measures to overcome difficulties in the healthcare system. His remarks were a written instruction presented to a meeting on medical and healthcare system reform on Wednesday. The instruction identified the key areas that needed attention, such as hospitals should be prevented from being "financed by drug sales", the medical insurance payment system must be improved, private entities should be encouraged to set up healthcare businesses, and a multi-tiered diagnosis and treatment system for patients should be established. He also said more effort should be given to reform of county-level hospitals and more serious diseases needed to be covered by medical insurance. At the meeting, Vice Premier Liu Yandong said medical reform was at a difficult and crucial stage and all departments should work together to ensure its success. Reform measures have been rolled out across all county-level hospitals and the city-level hospital pilot scheme would be increased to 100, she said. She stressed strict regulation on the prices of medicines to reduce the burden on patients. ^ top ^

Reward for fugitives in Sichuan (Global Times)
2015-04-30
Police said Wednesday they are offering two rewards to people who provide information leading to the arrest of a couple and a death row inmate from the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Yang Yuanyuan and his wife, both of whom are of Yi ethnicity, are on the run after allegedly killing six people and injuring another on Wednesday, The Beijing News reported. Local police have offered 30,000 yuan ($4,839) to 50,000 yuan to those who can provide information leading to the couple's arrest. ^ top ^

Police probe triple murder near China-N.Korea border (Global Times)
2015-04-30
Local police are investigating a case in which three Chinese citizens were allegedly killed by three deserters from the North Korean army on April 24 in the border city of Helong, located in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China's Jilin Province. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday that Helong police are investigating the case. "Local police received a report early on Saturday morning that a 67-year-old man surnamed Sun, a 55-year-old man surnamed Zhao and his 26-year-old daughter were killed in Longcheng township, in [Helong]," the Helong government publicity department said on Wednesday morning via its official Sina Weibo account, without revealing the identity of the suspects. South Korea's state-run KBS television station reported on Tuesday that three North Korean soldiers appeared in Longcheng township's Shiren village on Friday, which is located just across the border from North Korea's Taehongdan county, in Ryanggang Province, and killed three Chinese villagers with some kind of weapon. If the police investigation finds that the KBS report is accurate, this will be the third time killings by North Koreans in the border region have been reported in the last eight months. A North Korean soldier killed four locals in the course of a burglary in a village in Nanping township, Helong on December 27, 2014. The soldier was later arrested by Chinese border police. The soldier was allegedly detained just north of the Tumen River, which forms part of the boundary between China and North Korea. The Chinese foreign ministry also "lodged representations" to North Korea afterwards. On September 3, 2014, a family of three in the same village was killed by a hammer-wielding North Korean. In December 2013, a North Korean man killed an elderly Chinese couple in the Chinese border city of Yanji and stole 20,000 yuan ($3,210). He was caught by Chinese authorities after fleeing to Beijing. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

18 dead in Tibet from Himalayan earthquake (SCMP)
2015-04-27
Saturday's powerful Himalayan quake killed at least 18 people and injured 55 in Tibet, local authorities said on Sunday. More than 200,000 people were reported to have been affected by various levels of damage in Nyalam and Gyirong counties, which are about 40km from the border with Nepal, where the massive 7.8-magnitude quake killed more than 2,300 people. The authorities evacuated 7,000 people from Nyalam and 5,000 from Gyirong shortly after the disaster, Xinhua reported. In Gyirong, some 800km west of Lhasa, six people were killed and 17 injured in the quake, according to local rescue centres. At least four people, including a Nepalese national, were missing in Nyalam, Xinhua said. More than 400 mountain climbers on the Tibetan side of Mount Qomolangma, as Mount Everest is known in Tibet, were reported to be "largely safe", despite big avalanches, according to rescuers. "We were walking on a snowy slope when suddenly a crack opened, but fortunately we were able to skirt it," a mountain climber told Xinhua. "We almost rolled down from 7,000 metres to reach a shelter at 6,500 metres." Rescuers were braving heavy snow and rain to reach the quake-hit area, but their efforts were hampered by severe landslides blocking the road into Nyalam. "Aftershocks are what we are worrying about most at the moment; there's nowhere to hide," Gyanga Tseten, head of the Xigaze fire brigade, told Xinhua. Tseten was leading a 30-strong task force to Zham Pass about 37km from Nyalam. Chen Quanguo, Communist Party chief of Tibet, has ordered evacuations from the quake-hit areas to prevent further deaths and injuries from aftershocks and secondary disasters. The authorities had also sent about 600 border guards to help with rescue operations in Nyalam and Gyirong, and more were ready to go when needed, Chen said. But the National Meteorological Centre said snow was forecast to continue in Tibet, adding to the difficulty of the rescue operation. More snow and showers were expected on Monday, the centre said. Meanwhile, contact had been lost with 20 National Taiwan University alumni who had joined up with a group of mainland climbers to scale the Nepalese side of the mountain, Central News Agency in Taipei reported. The news agency said that as of last night the mainland group had yet to locate the 20 Taiwanese. Taiwan's foreign ministry said it was using all of its resources to determine if any other Taiwanese people were missing as a result of the quake. ^ top ^

25 dead, 117 injured in Tibet following Nepal earthquake (Xinhua)
2015-04-28
The death toll in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region from Saturday's earthquake in neighboring Nepal has risen to 25, according to the regional disaster relief headquarters. A total of 117 there sustained injuries, it said. A 8.1-magnitude quake shook Nepal at 2:11 p.m. (Beijing Time) on Saturday, which also affected the southwestern part of Tibet, especially Xigaze City. The city has 18 counties and prefectures, and a population of more than 700,000. The counties of Gyirong, Nyalam and Tingri were most affected. Nearly 80 percent of the houses in these three counties collapsed. The number of casualties is likely to increase as access and communication returns to normal, a spokesperson of the headquarters said. "We worry most about Zham Town. Rescue work there is particularly difficult because the road to the town is blocked," said Mayor of Xigaze City Zhang Hongbo. Zhang added that Zham Town has felt more than 20 aftershocks, which have caused landslides and avalanches. The town is in short supply of food and bottled water. Food stocks will likely only last three days. A 37-km highway linking Nyalam County with Zham has been blocked by multiple landslides. Rescuers are still working to clear an important tunnel that winds through high mountains. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Charity seeks Hong Kong volunteers to help with Nepal earthquake counselling (SCMP)
2015-04-30
A Hong Kong counselling charity is calling for volunteers to step forward and aide the recovery of the largely affected Nepalese communities shattered by the earthquake zone. The Post-Crisis Counselling Network (PCCN) wants to train large numbers of volunteers in counselling skills, particularly psychotherapy – to eventually send them to Nepal. A Nepal government official predicted the death toll could exceed 10,000, with 4,800 lives lost in Saturday's devastating earthquake so far, including one Hong Kong man among the victims. The first batch of volunteers – up to 140 people – from Hong Kong are due to fly to Kathmandu by May 13 and will help to provide counselling. Timothy To Wing-ching, the charity's director, said it was vital for volunteers to step forward. “If people have trauma and they don't have any treatment, assessment or professional people to help, if they pass two or three years, the mental trauma will be worse,” he warned. Within one year, the organisation has an ambitious target to see up to 200,000 survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress-related disorders treated. Among them, people could be affected by a phobia of another earthquake, aftershocks or mudslides, panic through rebuilding lives with little money or resources to do so, sadness through the deaths of friends and family, and complicated trauma though religious disbelief plus a combination of phobia, sadness and panic. Volunteers who successfully compete the training will also be tasked to provide training to local people to help them get back on a stable footing. The overall campaign is expected to cost around HK$2 million, funded by donations from citizens and corporates. PCCN has previously provided assistance after the 2011 Japanese tsunami and 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In 2008 and 2013, the charity helped train a combined 500 counsellors to provide long-term support. ^ top ^

Police hunt kidnappers who fled with $3.6m (China Daily)
2015-04-30
Police have launched a massive manhunt for up to six men who they say escaped with a HK$28 million ($3.6 million) ransom in one of the biggest kidnapping cases in Hong Kong in recent years. The men are said to have seized the daughter of a billionaire at her luxury home at Clear Water Bay after a break-in and robbery on Saturday. Police said the kidnappers are from the mainland. Two are aged between 26 and 29 and were wearing dark jackets, bluejeans and sports shoes. One has a scar on his right palm. Another two are 1.6 meters tall and wore white coats. According to reports, five or six masked men broke into the billionaire's detached house and ransacked the premises. They took away HK$2 million in cash and valuables, as well as the owner's 29-year-old daughter, who was alone in the house. The family reported the kidnapping to the police, and the case was passed to the Kowloon East Regional Crime Unit. The billionaire, who is said to be in the real estate business, received a call from the kidnappers, demanding a ransom of HK$50 million in exchange for his daughter, say police. The demand was later lowered to HK$28 million after negotiations. The abductors called the billionaire again on Tuesday night to make arrangements to pick up the ransom, the reports say. The money was placed in 28 bags, each containing HK$1 million. The kidnappers escaped in a white car after receiving the money, and officers found the woman unhurt in the Tseung Kwan O district. A citywide manhunt was then launched, with roadblocks being placed on all main routes out of the city. The areas affected included Wong Tai Sin, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, Yuen Long and Tseung Kwan O. Heavily armed police wearing helmets and bulletproof jackets stopped suspicious vehicles, and large numbers of officers searched the areas around the woman's home in Kowloon Peak, also known as Fei Ngor Shan, with the assistance of helicopters. Retired detective Lam Kin-keung described the crime as "well-organized" as the suspects, who are not local, were able to escape in an unfamiliar city. "It is possible that the kidnapping was an improvised crime," he said. "It is likely that burglars came to realize that the owner of the house was rich after ransacking it." ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao denies rumors of CIA agents killings (Global Times)
2015-04-28
Macao authorities on Monday denied a recent rumor that says the special forces of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Macao killed several CIA agents and were give first-class merit awards. A Macao security official confirmed the information was a rumor after verifying the matter with PLA special forces, the official WeChat account of Nandu Daily reported. Phoenix Television reported Sunday that the China News Service on March 8, 2014 said that PLA solders in Macao held a party to celebrate the first-class merit award to its special forces. Some media reported that it might be connected with the alleged incident that the US sent special agents to Hong Kong and Macao to capture and assassinate Edward Snowden in 2013. Media outlets said that the CIA agents engaged in a fierce battle with PLA special forces, and four agents were shot and killed. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Belt and Road Initiative a boost to China, regional economy (Xinhua)
2015-04-26
The Belt and Road Initiative will not only help China's own economy, but also those of the whole region through trade and investment. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, international trade and infrastructure projects proposed by China, will bring growth opportunities for all countries involved, said Zhang Yansheng, an economist with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The Belt is an overland network bringing together China, central Asia, Russia and Europe; linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. The Road is a maritime network designed to link China's coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and China's coast to the South Pacific through the South China Sea in another. Better transportation, electricity, energy and telecommunications means more investment opportunities, a foundation for growth and more jobs, Zhang said. Improvements in infrastructure and financial services will also help trade in the region, Zhang added. Export and import between China and countries along the Belt and Road reached seven trillion yuan (about 1.13 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2014, 25 percent of China's total foreign trade. Zheng Yongnian, professor and director of the east Asian institute at the National University of Singapore, said the initiative would help China's economic restructuring while stimulating development in countries along the routes. The Belt and Road will be the world's largest economic corridor covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of 21 trillion U.S. Dollars. The initiative will not only help growth for China, but offer new perspectives and opportunities for countries along the routes, Philipp Missfelder, a member of the German Bundestag, wrote in a commentary in Huffington Post earlier this week. Q1 growth in China declined to 7 percent from the previous quarter' s 7.3 percent, the weakest since the first quarter of 2009. The current situation originates in drastic cuts to production capacity in traditional industrial sectors, which produce what many developing countries are eager for, Zhang said. ^ top ^

China's economy needs no strong stimulus measures, says central bank economist (SCMP)
2015-04-28
China's employment situation is good and progress has been made in structural adjustments, so there is no need for strong stimulus for the economy despite downward pressure, the central bank's top economist said. “The central bank's recent lowering of rates and reserve requirements was mainly to prevent passive tightening of monetary policy and to maintain a neutral or steady monetary policy,” the People's Daily newspaper quoted Ma Jun, chief economist of the People's Bank of China, as saying. “Even though economic growth is coming under downward pressure, the present employment situation is good, structural adjustments have made positive progress and there is no need for strong stimulus,” Ma was quoted as saying. The world's second-largest economy grew at its slowest pace in six years in the first quarter of 2015 and weakness in key sectors suggested the economy was still losing momentum into April, adding to expectations that Beijing will roll out more support measures to prevent a sharper slowdown. The People's Bank of China cut reserve requirement ratios in early February and did so again this month in the biggest single reduction since the depth of the global financial crisis in 2008. It has also cut interest rates twice since November. Private economists see more policy rate and reserve ratio cuts in coming months along with other measures if conditions continue to deteriorate. "There are a lot of tools in the central bank's toolbox', the article in the newspaper of the governing Communist Party quoted Ma as saying. “If the downward pressure is greater than expected, the possibility of macroeconomic policy continuing to be adjusted cannot be ruled out,” he said. China's government said on Friday that urban employment held up in the first quarter even as economic growth slowed, but the labour ministry warned that authorities cannot be “blindly optimistic” as the pace of job creation is slowing. ^ top ^

iPhone sales in China surge, boost Apple's profits (China Daily)
2015-04-28
Apple Inc beat Wall Street's revenue and profit forecasts on Monday on the back of surging iPhone sales, especially in China, but it gave no sales figures for its new Apple Watch. As investors had expected, the most valuable publicly traded US company raised its dividend and boosted its share repurchase program. Its shares rose 1.6 percent in after-hours trading to $134.52. Apple sold 61.2 million iPhones in the quarter, up 40 percent from the year-ago quarter, but down from the record-breaking holiday quarter. It sold 12.6 million iPads, down 23 percent from a year ago. Revenue in China rose 71 percent to $16.8 billion, making it Apple's biggest market behind the Americas, helped by strong sales of the iPhone. Apple gave no sales figures for its recently released Apple Watch, but did say the current quarter was off to "an exciting start". Wall Street hailed the results but share reaction was muted. "A 60 million-plus iPhone number is a home run and will be cheered by the Street as this remains the bread and butter of Apple," said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives. Apple increased its share repurchase authorization to $140 billion from $90 billion announced last year. On top of that, it raised its quarterly dividend 11 percent to 52 cents per share. Together, Apple estimated that would mean returning $200 billion to shareholders by the end of March 2017. ^ top ^

Belt and Road nations account for 26 percent of China's total trade (Xinhua)
2015-04-28
Trade with countries along the Belt and Road, a China-proposed initiative to enhance international connections, amounted to 236 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2015. This translates to 26 percent of China's total exports and imports during the period, In the same quarter, exports to Belt and Road nations increased 10 percent year on year to 144.5 billion U.S. dollars, outpacing a general 4.6 percent growth in exports during the period. The volume accounted for 28 percent of China's total exports, Shen Danyang, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press conference held in Beijing. Meanwhile, imports from these countries hit 91.5 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 23.4 percent of China's total imports, Shen said. The government has not identified all nations included under the Belt and Road, but so far as many as 60 have voiced support and interest in the initiative. During the first quarter, non-financial investment into these countries stood at 2.56 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 10 percent of its total overseas investment. Singapore, India and Laos were the top three destinations for investment. Outbound investment compared to 1.68 billion U.S. dollars in foreign direct investment from these countries, with investment from Mongolia and Russia more than doubling, Shen said. Currently, China is engaged in the joint construction of 70 cooperative zones with these nations,, through projects such as the construction of industrial parks, with companies having invested more than 8 billion U.S. dollars, Shen said. According to him, these zones are expected to realize an annual output of at least 20 billion U.S. dollars, and provide up to 200,000 jobs. The official said that cooperation with Thailand on the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone had created more than 3,000 jobs for locals. In addition, the presence of 50 Chinese textile and garment companies in Cambodia has also created almost 10,000 jobs. The Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the international trade and infrastructure projects proposed by China. The Belt is an overland network bringing together China, central Asia, Russia and Europe; linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. The Road is a maritime network designed to link China's coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and China's coast to the South Pacific through the South China Sea in another. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

President Ts.Elbegdorj will be visiting Tokyo in May 2015 to discuss the Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (Infomongolia)
2015-04-27
The Japanese Sankei Shimbun daily reports that the President of Mongolia, Tsakhia ELBEGDRORJ will be conducting a working visit Japan on May 20-25, 2015. President Ts.Elbegdorj will be having a bilateral talk with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe during the participation an international event scheduled on May 21-22 and to discuss the ongoing implementation process of the Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). To recall, the State Great Khural (Parliament) ratified the Mongolia-Japan EPA in February 2015, which was mutually discussed for over three years and now the Japanese Parliament arranges to approve the Japan-Mongolia EPA in May 2015. Also, the latter Presidential visit to Japan was arranged on July 21-22, 2014, when President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe had signed off the Joint Statement regarding the intergovernmental approach to EPA. Moreover, prior to Japan visit, President Ts.Elbegdorj will be attending the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade on May 09, 2015. ^ top ^

World Happiness Report 2015 (Infomongolia)
2015-04-27
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network released the annual World Happiness Report 2015, which was first published in 2012. Leading experts across fields - economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more - describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The initial World Happiness Report reviewed the scientific understanding of the measurement and explanation of subjective well-being, and presented a wide range of internationally comparable data, including a ranking of national average life evaluations, based on Gallup World Poll data from 2005-2011 for 156 countries. In the World Happiness Report 2013 the main data analysis, which covered both the 2010-2012 levels and also the changes from 2005-2007 to 2010-2012, were supplemented by a series of invited chapters covering key subject areas. The purpose of the report is to survey the scientific underpinnings of the measurement and understanding of subjective well-being, and the national-level average scores for subjective well-being, as measured by answers to the Cantril ladder question asking people to evaluate the quality of their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 represents the worst possible life for them, and 10 the best. The World Happiness Report 2015 was led by Switzerland (7.587) followed closely by Iceland (7.561), Denmark (7.527) and Norway (7.522), where Mongolia with a score of 4.874 stands at the 100th place out of 158 countries and compare to last year edition scaled up 2 positions. ^ top ^

The 5th Conference of the Freedom Online Coalition in Ulaanbaatar to commence on May 04, 2015 (Infomongolia)
2015-04-28
On May 04-05, 2015, the Government of Mongolia is to host the Fifth Conference of the Freedom Online Coalition in Ulaanbaatar, where representatives from governments, private sector and civil society will meet to discuss current threats to freedom online and opportunities to strengthen the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights. The Conference themed “Internet Policy Making - Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedom” is in line with the Coalition's on-going work through its multi-stakeholder working groups, Conference workshops will be organized into three tracks: An Internet Free and Secure; Digital Development and Openness; and Privacy and Transparency Online. At present, over 300 representatives from civil society and research institutions are claimed to attend including “Google”, “Mozilla”, “Twitter”, UNESCO, UNISEF, Asia Foundation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Digital Partners Global as well as over 60 authorities from government and private sectors. The Freedom Online Coalition is a group of governments who have committed to work together to support Internet freedom and protect fundamental human rights - free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online - worldwide. The Coalition provides a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement, which is also recognized in its founding declaration, and the annual meeting is an opportunity to engage civil society and the private sector in a constructive dialogue on issues related to Internet freedom. ^ top ^

Ambassador of the PR of China, Wang Xiaolong ends his diplomatic mission to Mongolia (Infomongolia)
2015-04-29
On April 28, 2015, Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, Mr. Wang Xiaolong on the occasion of ending his diplomatic terms in Mongolia. During the meeting, Mayor E.Bat-Uul highly praised the Ambassador's contribution to the development and boost of bilateral relations and concluding the meeting, Ambassador Wang Xiaolong was bestowed with Ulaanbaatar 375th anniversary medal. ^ top ^

UB Mayor E.Bat-Uul requests South Korea to collaborate in building a bus factory in Mongolia (Infomongolia)
2015-04-29
On April 28, 2015, Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL received in his office the recently accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia, Mr. Oh Song to exchange views of bilateral cooperation and further development issues. During the meeting, Mayor E.Bat-Uul said, “Ulaanbaatar collaborates with Seoul in many fields and as a part of cooperations, UB's public transportation sector has been transferred into a smart service, which is starting from upcoming July 01. Also, a project on Ulaanbaatar Administration new building is undergoing by introducing Korea's top technology as well as we are willing to collaborate with South Korea in building a bus factory in Mongolia”. In turn, Ambassador Oh Song affirmed to support the Maoyr's inititaions and expressed his willingess to organize several measures to broaden and strengthen people-to-people friendly relations noting that this year Mongolia and the ROK are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and 20th anniversary of the establishment of sister-city relations between Ulaanbaatar and Seoul. ^ top ^

Mongolia and France commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations (Infomongolia)
2015-04-28
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the French Republic this year, Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren hosted a ceremonial banquet in his office welcoming the French delegates on April 27, 2015. At the banquet, the Embassy staff headed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Mongolia, Mr. Yves Delaunay and senior diplomats as well as officials from Mongolia-France public-private sectors were also present. In his remarks, Ambassador Yves Delaunay underlined, “Our bilateral relationship is laid over 800 years ago, where emperors from Mongol and French States had been exchanging notes and it is our pleasure to exhibit some copies of these historically significant documents to all you gathered here”. Mongolia and the French Republic have established the diplomatic relations on April 27, 1965. ^ top ^

Mongolia commemorates the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with six post-socialist countries (Infomongolia)
2015-04-30
On April 29, 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia hosted a ceremonial reception on the occasion in commemorating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and six states this year including the Republic of Poland (April 14, 1950), the Republic of Bulgaria (April 22, 1950), the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (former Czechoslovakia signed on April 25, 1950), Hungary (April 28, 1950) and Romania (April 29, 1950). At the event, the diplomatic corps, senior diplomats as well as representatives of organizations contributing to the development of relations and cooperation between Mongolia - Poland, Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania were present. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN opened the ceremony and in his opening remarks emphasized, “Hundreds of Mongolian students obtained education at Universities and other higher institutions in Poland, Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania as considered Mongolia's old friends and these states have contributed immensely to the development and prosperity of Mongolia, where several dozens of factories and facilities were erected with technical assistance”. Concluding the speech Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren expressed with confidence that building on the 65-year-old solid foundation, we are able to further deepen and develop the relations and cooperation between our countries. Mongolian People's Republic used to exist between 1924 and 1992, and after the breakdown of communist regimes in Europe in late 1989, Mongolia saw its own peaceful democratic revolution in early 1990; it led to a multi-party system, a new Constitution of Mongolia was adopted on January 13, 1992, and dissolved the Mongolian People's Republic. ^ 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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