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
  8-12.6.15, No. 576  
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Foreign Policy

China and Russia block UN proposal targeting two rival Libyan politicians (SCMP)
2015-06-08
Russia and China have blocked a joint proposal by the United States, France, Spain and Britain to blacklist two men linked to rival administrations in Libya, according to an internal United Nations Security Council correspondence. The point of the proposal was to boost talks brokered by UN envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon that resumed on Wednesday in Algiers. Those talks centre on a draft proposal for a unity government for the war-ravaged North African state before a broader meeting in Morocco this week. The four Western states requested a global travel ban and asset freeze on Othman Maliqta, a militia leader loosely allied with Libya's internationally recognised government, and Abdulrahman Swehli, a Misrata politician tied to the rival Libya Dawn administration. But Russia and China requested the proposal be put on hold. In its notice to other Security Council members on the Libya sanctions committee, the Russian delegation said "more time is needed for the said request to be considered by relevant agencies of the Russian Federation". A hold does not mean the proposal is dead, though it will clearly delay its consideration. China's UN delegation sent a note as well. "The political dialogue among all Libyan parties brokered by the UN is at the critical junction," the Chinese delegation said. "Any measures adopted by the [sanctions] committee should facilitate the current dialogue process. We should be very careful and take more time to consider this issue." The four Western powers said the blacklisting would "send a clear signal that spoilers of the political process will not be tolerated" and that the move could persuade more Libyan moderates to participate in the talks. ^ top ^

Chinese naval ship visits Ecuador on global voyage (Xinhua)
2015-06-08
The oceanographic research ship Zhu Kezhen of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on a mission of global voyage made a call at Guayaquil Port on Sunday for a five-day goodwill visit to Ecuador. The visit of Zhu Kezhen, the latest oceanographic research ship designed and built independently by China, to the South American country of Ecuador comes as this year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. On behalf of the China's hydrographic bureau, ship Zhu Kezhen paid its first friendly visit to Ecuador, a member state of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). It is also the fourth time for the Chinese navy to come to Ecuador. During its stay in Guayaquil, Ecuador's biggest city, the Chinese naval research ship will be open to public visit, hold a deck reception and organize other academic and cultural exchange activities with the Ecuadorian side. According to Captain Lv Jiedong, deputy commander of a combat support ship flotilla under the PLA's East China Sea Fleet, the Zhu Kezhen, named after a prominent Chinese meteorologist, geologist and educator, will spend six months on the global voyage while paying visits to foreign countries. Before coming to the Guayaquil Port, the Chinese naval oceanographic research ship has called at the Louis Port in Mauritius, Port of Cape Town in South Africa and Salvador Port in Brazil. After the stop in Ecuador, Zhu Kezhen will continue its global voyage and go back to China in early August. ^ top ^

Angolan president leaves for state visit to China (Xinhua)
2015-06-08
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Sunday left here for Beijing for a state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Angolan leader's visit to China would allow the adjusting of government plans and programs due to the current economic and financial situation and reviewing the existing partnership between the two countries, Angolan Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Manuel Augusto told reporters at the Luanda "4 de Fevereiro" international airport after the departure of the president. "The visit is very important, having into account the ties between Angola and China and particularly the development of partnership that exists between the two countries," he said, adding that the visit was taking place at a time of particular importance for the economic and social development of Angola. The presidential delegation included State Minister and Head of President's Civil Office Edeltrudes Costa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Georges Chikoti, Minister of Transport Augusto Tomas, Minister of Trade Rosa Pacavira, Minister of Energy and Water Joao Baptista Borges. ^ top ^

Iran urges China to play greater role in nuclear talks as Tehran seeks closer military ties (SCMP)
2015-06-09
Iran is keen to build closer military ties with China, welcoming Beijing to expand its naval presence and urging it to play a bigger role in the Tehran nuclear talks. The two states might conduct more port calls because of China's growing commercial interests, Iranian foreign affairs adviser Ali Akbar Velayati told the South China Morning Post. Last month, Russia hosted Chinese navy vessels in the Black Sea ahead of the two country's joint exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. The move raised concerns about China's growing maritime force. But Velayati said: “It is right for China, as a great power, to do that. You see the United States is also sending its military vessels everywhere. It is China's right to send its military vessels.” The Chinese and Iranian militaries conducted a series of exchanges in 2013 and 2014. Last year, Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told Iranian navy commander, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, that the two forces had seen “good cooperation” on mutual visits. In 2013, an Iranian destroyer and helicopter carrier docked at the port city of Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu province after a 40-day voyage. In 2014, two Chinese destroyers paid a four-day visit to Iran's Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. Velayati described the port calls between China and Iran as “friendly behaviour between the two countries”. “It is quite natural,” he said. “We have to support the transshipment of goods between Iran and other countries. The same right applies to China. It is the right of a country to defend its own transshipment of goods.” The Iranian adviser's remarks come ahead of a June 30 deadline to strike a deal on Iran's nuclear programme with the P5+1 group of world powers, comprising China, Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany. Tehran reached a framework agreement with the group in April, but diplomats remain sceptical about whether a final deal can be reached by the end of the month. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif last week that Beijing called on all parties involved in the talks to show political wisdom for the sake of progress, and China was willing to step up coordination with Tehran. Velayati declined to say if he was optimistic about reaching an agreement. He called on China and Russia to better coordinate with Iran to push forward the talks, saying this could be achieved by having more discussions between the three states before negotiations with the larger P5+1 group. “China and Russia have had a moderate position in the negotiation,” the adviser said. “If the Chinese position is more active, it will affect the continuation of the positive result of the talks.” On the economic front, Velayati said energy trade between China and Iran had improved and that there was “no limit” on Iran's capacity to export oil to China. “There is no ceiling for the volume of oil and gas we are going to send to China,” he said. “It depends on the demands of the Chinese companies.” China imported 2.91 million tonnes of crude oil a day from Iran in April, up 10.8 per cent from March. It also imported US$2.1 billion of non-oil goods from Iran in the first quarter of the year. Asadollar Asgar Oladi, the head of Iran-China Chamber of Commerce, recently said Beijing have agreed that China would pay in cash for the oil and gas it purchased from Tehran. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese military officers fly to US for talks on South China Sea (SCMP)
2015-06-09
A top Chinese military official flew to the United States yesterday for talks with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter on the South China Sea amid strained ties between the two nations. The meeting comes as the two major powers are locked in a stalemate over China's reclamation works in disputed waters, and cybersecurity. Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, was leading a delegation to the US at the invitation of Carter, the defence ministry in Beijing said yesterday in a brief online statement. Admiral Sun Jianguo, the deputy chief of the PLA's General Staff who recently spoke on China's territorial claims in the disputed waters at a regional security dialogue in Singapore, is also accompanying Fan. The Chinese delegation left yesterday afternoon and would also visit Cuba, the ministry said, but gave no further details of the trip. Tensions between the world's two largest economies were compounded last month by a series of events, following Washington's call for "an immediate and lasting halt" to China's placing of mobile artillery on its reclaimed islands as well as Beijing's release of a white paper that unveiled plans to expand its naval power and counter US surveillance. Developments concerning the disputed islands would be top of the agenda when Fan and Carter meet on Thursday, a senior US defence official told Defensenews.com "That will be the central item on the agenda, and I'm sure we'll have the most candid possible discussion," the website quoted the official as saying. The official added that the talks were also expected to touch on cybersecurity, including China's alleged hacking of US commercial and military sites. Last week, hackers broke into US government computers, possibly compromising the personal data of four million current and former federal employees. China denies any involvement in the incident. Fan's tour would also include visits to Naval Air Station North Island, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the USS Ronald Reagan - all in San Diego - as well as the US Army's Fort Hood in Texas, the official told the website. Recent satellite photos show that Beijing has accelerated reclamation in the South China Sea, where Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines also have claims. The US wants the sea kept open to shipping and aviation, but Beijing accuses it of keeping a presence there to contain China's maritime expansion. ^ top ^

Philippines to submit ancient map to back up territorial claims (Global Times)
2015-06-09
The Philippine government is set this week to submit an ­almost 300-year-old map which it claims shows that ­Huangyan Island is part of Philippine ­territory to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in The Hague, Philippine ­media reported. The Philippines argues that the map, first published in 1734, shows that the nine-dash-line China has been using as proof of its claims over the South ­China Sea is illegitimate. It locates Huangyan ­Island off the shores of the ­Philippines' Luzon ­Island. "The map cannot help the Philippines regarding its ­territorial claims," said Zhuang Guotu, a professor from the Research School for Southeast Asian Studies of Xiamen University, emphasizing the role that the 1898 Spanish-American War plays in this dispute. The US took over Spain's then-colonies including the Philippine islands in 1898, but did not take control of Huangyan Island according to Zhuang. The island was not a part of the Philippines either after the country gained independence in 1946, he added. "It is common to depict surrounding areas on a map. It is for sure the map can not prove that the islands belong to the Philippines," Zhuang claimed. "The tribunal has its own way to reach a judgement … Anyone who knows history or law will see that the map will not help the Philippines," Zhuang argued. China's foreign ministry made no immediate comment as of press time when reached by the Global Times. The Hague tribunal's decision has no binding effect on China, according to China's position paper on jurisdiction in South China Sea arbitration released last year, said Chen Qinghong, a research ­fellow from the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. The position paper made it clear that the tribunal "has no jurisdiction over this arbitration, unilaterally initiated by the Philippines … [The arbitration] will not change the history and fact of China's sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and adjacent waters." "China has many more maps and historic records to prove Huangyan Island ­belongs to China," Chen said, responding to the Philippines' use of the ancient map as ­evidence. ^ top ^

Expert clarifies China's industry lags a century behind Germany's (Global Times)
2015-06-09
The author of the 2015 China Modernization Report said that media are inaccurate in saying the country's industrial development lags a century behind Germany's, in response to online questions over the report's accuracy, news site people.com.cn reported on Monday. "It is incomplete and inaccurate to jump to such a conclusion and misleading without discussing which industrial indices were used," He Chuanqi, leading author of China Modernization Report 2015, was quoted by people.com.cn as saying. The report, released by the Center for Modernization Research at the Chinese Academy of Science on Saturday, said that the industrial economic level in China in 2010 fell more than 100 years behind Germany and the UK, and 60 years behind Japan. The report has sparked discussions on social media with some asking why the conclusion contradicted some previous reports. "Although we do not like some reports that boasted of the achievements in recent years, it's also wrong to say that China is 100 years behind," a netizen commented on Sina Weibo. He explained that the conclusion was reached based on three indices: industrial labor productivity, ratio of industrial value added and ratio of productivity of the entire industrial workforce. "We first matched one index of China in 2010 with a similar level of a developed country, and then calculated the difference in terms of time span. The final result is the average time difference of the three indices," He said. Different indices would lead to different results and if factor in those which China has a higher level, the gap would be narrower, according to He. "China's industrial development is still unbalanced both across regions and sectors. China needs more successful factors such as high-speed railway technology," said He. The conclusion could be used as a reference for policymakers to determine a proper start point and effective solutions to reach the goal, according to He. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier expects bilateral ties with Italy to be strengthened through Milan Expo (Xinhua)
2015-06-09
Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang expressed his hope here on Monday that bilateral relations between China and Italy can be strengthened through the ongoing Milan Expo 2015. Wang made the remarks when addressing a ceremony marking the National Day of the Chinese Pavilion at the Expo. He said China and Italy enjoy traditional friendship as the Silk Road linked the two countries more than 2,000 years ago, noting this year also marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Wang expected China and Italy to make use of the platform of Milan Expo to cement people-to-people friendship, deepen cooperation and advance bilateral partnership, and give vigor into the cooperation along the Silk Road. Later on Monday, Wang visited the China Pavilion, the Italy Pavilion, the Kazakhstan Pavilion and the China Corporate United Pavilion, and attended a forum on China-Italy innovation cooperation. ^ top ^

Chinese vacationers and South Korean expatriates scrap travel plans over Mers concerns (SCMP)
2015-06-10
Some South Koreans living in Beijing said they have changed their plans to travel home following the recent outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers). South Korean expats are closely watching developments of the outbreak, even though their lives remains normal in the Chinese capital. “I am anxiously watching news reports every day,” said a South Korean woman who only gave her surname, Lee. Lee, who lives in Wangjing sub-district in the city's northeast, said some friends had decided not to go return to South Korea when summer vacation starts soon. “I've made plans to go back to South Korea first and from there travel to Australia next month, but I'll wait and see now,” she said. “I'm worried that I might be put under quarantine when I return to Beijing.” Cha Mi-youn, who runs a small shop selling South Korean clothing in Beijing, said she did not want to take any risks and cancelled a scheduled trip home on Thursday. “According to media reports, the chances of healthy people contracting the disease are slim, but I still don't want to risk it,” said Cha. “What if the person sitting beside you on the plane has become infected without even knowing it? Some of my Chinese clients have scrapped travel plans to South Korea, including some who have paid for the trip.” Mainland authorities have yet to issue a formal travel warning against South Korea, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Chinese travellers to the country to be cautious. Beijing Capital International Airport boosted anti-epidemic measures last week, including temperature screening of arriving passengers. Mainland travel agencies said they have received more inquiries about cancellation of tours to South Korea. “Some customers have already paid to travel to South Korea, but have called in the past few day to quit the tours,” said Gu Leilei, a marketing employee at travel agency Tuniu.com. “But since our country's travel authority has not issued travel alerts, we will process their refund requests according to the contracts signed with them.” Annie Zheng, a manager from Shanghai Jinjiang Travel Agency, said the Mers outbreak in South Korea had caused problems for tour companies, including rearranging the itinerary of cruises which in the past boarded or finished at South Korean ports. She said the cruise liner Quantum of the Seas, one of the world's largest passenger ships, was chartered by her company and had planned to make her South Korean debut on June 29. It previously was expected to moor in Busan and Fukuoka in southern Japan, but now has cut the South Korean leg of the voyage. “Japan has a limited number of ports that can accommodate huge cruisers like Quantum of the Seas. We have to coordinate with other travel agencies to ensure we have a position at other Japanese ports for our ship,” she said. Her company met a travel group of 80 that even cancelled their flight from Shanghai to Seoul because of concerns about Mers. ^ top ^

China to foster ties with Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi (SCMP)
2015-06-10
Beijing appears to have accepted Myanmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi despite her democratic credentials, in a move signalling China's sense of urgency in fostering ties with the key contender in Myanmar's upcoming election. Forging good relations with China, Myanmar's biggest investor, also increases Suu Kyi's political capital towards becoming her country's leader, analysts say. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate arrives in Beijing on Wednesday for a five-day visit in her capacity as chairwoman of Myanmar's National League for Democracy. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said last week that Suu Kyi would meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. China has tried to build ties with the Myanmese opposition party since Suu Kyi's release from house arrest in 2010, by inviting NLD members to visit Beijing. But Suu Kyi herself, an international democracy icon, has not previously been invited to China. The necessity for both Beijing and Suu Kyi to show the world they can work together outweighs their ideological perspectives, analysts say. "It's a well-calculated move on both sides," said Yun Sun, from US-based Henry L. Stimson Centre's East Asia programme. "Beijing needs to tie up any loose ends before the Myanmar election … and Suu Kyi needs to show she can also have a benign, amicable relationship with Beijing like her other contenders." Yun said the sensitive issue of the Chinese political system was unlikely to be top of Suu Kyi's agenda when she meets the country's leaders this week. Professor Fan Hongwei, from Xiamen University's Southeast Asian Studies Centre, echoed Yun's views. It remains unclear if Suu Kyi will push for a revision of the Myanmese constitution - which deems those whose relatives hold foreign citizenship ineligible to run for election - and enter the polls to become the country's new president. Suu Kyi's two sons hold British citizenship. "But her prominence in Myanmar is irrefutable," Fan said. "The last thing Beijing wants is a change in the country's China policy to court the West." Fan said Beijing might also discuss the China-backed Myitsone dam project suspended by Thein Sein's administration. But Professor Sean Turnell, from Australia's Macquarie University, said China's vast economic interests in Myanmar might not be on Suu Kyi's agenda. "China was the only ally Myanmar's old military regimes had for a very long time … But there were growing concerns Myanmar was slipping ever deeper under China's shadow," Turnell said. "This anxiety … prompted the changes [including the suspension of the dam] brought by the Thein Sein administration." ^ top ^

Visit to US by China's top military officer a sign both sides want relations back on track (SCMP)
2015-06-10
Central Military Commission vice-chairman Fan Changlong's visit to the US indicated Washington and Beijing were keen to prevent further damage to their bilateral ties while creating a good atmosphere for President Xi Jinping's state visit in September, analysts said. Sino-US relations have been strained in recent weeks by spats over China's programme of building artificial islands in the South China Sea, and analysts said Fan's visit would help both sides to establish communication channels to prevent military confrontations between the two super powers. "There are no significant signs of a solution for both sides to lessen the current tension, but at least both President Xi and President Barack Obama should try to prevent a further deterioration of bilateral ties that might spark a military confrontation in the South China Sea," said Professor Shi Yinhong, a Sino-US expert at Beijing's Renmin University. "Fan's mission is quite tough as his trip comes when Beijing and Washington are embroiled in acrimonious disputes over South China Sea issues, cyber security and other critical disagreements in financial and economic sectors." China's Defence Ministry on Monday announced that Fan had departed to the US. His meeting with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter tomorrow will focus on concerns over the disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to the website Defensenews.com Tensions between the world's two largest economies have risen due to a series of recent events. These include Washington's call for "an immediate and lasting halt" to China's placing of mobile artillery on its reclaimed islands as well as Beijing's release of a white paper that unveiled plans to expand its naval power and counter US surveillance. Fan's visit suggested that both sides would make clear their bottom line over territory disputes in the region, Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said. "China didn't send its symbolic defence minister this time, but the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission [China's most senior military officer] who is responsible for military strategy and other core issues. This shows that both Xi and Obama feel an urgent need to set up an effective military control mechanism for both sides to prevent military confrontations in the area," Li said. Fan's predecessor Guo Boxiong visited the US in July, 2006, implementing the two countries' military-to-military exchanges established three months earlier during the state visit by then president and CMC chairman Hu Jintao and US president George W Bush. Fan's tour includes visits to Naval Air Station North Island, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in California Fort Hood in Texas. ^ top ^

China welcomes foreign companies to join in its development (Xinhua)
2015-06-10
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that China welcomes foreign companies to join in its modernization and will create a market environment for fair competition. Li made the remarks while meeting with CEOs and presidents of 14 of the world's top corporations including Goldman Sachs, Nokia, Pfizer, Standard Chartered Bank and Volkswagen at the 3rd round table summit of the Global CEO Council. To sustain economic growth, which slowed to a six-year low of 7 percent in the first quarter, the Chinese premier is paying close attention to mass entrepreneurship and innovation. Li said support of mass entrepreneurship and innovation will inject new growth to China's economy, and upgrade the economy to a medium-high level of development and maintain the growth at a medium-high speed. China is undergoing a new round of high-level opening-up, said Li, adding that the government will take more measures to ensure fair competition. China will further expand the opening-up of high-end manufacturing and service industry, he said. China has cost-effective equipment, while the developed countries have advanced technologies, he said. The Chinese government expects companies with competitive advantage to cooperate with western companies to develop the third-party market, so as to realize mutual benefit and win-win, he said. The CEOs and presidents voiced their opinions over topics including the "Made in China 2025" plan, China's financial policy, streamlining administrative procedures, mass entrepreneurship and innovation, and China's investment environment. The summit is hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese legislator visits Georgia (Xinhua)
2015-06-10
Chen Changzhi, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, concluded a visit to Georgia on Tuesday. During the four-day visit, Chen met respectively with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, exchanging views with the Georgian leaders on further legislative exchanges and deeper cooperation in various fields between the two countries. Chen also visited a major special economic zone project invested by China in the country during his visit. Chen visited Georgia at the invitation of Georgia's parliament. ^ top ^

Beijing to be safest option for 2022 Winter Olympics (Global Times)
2015-06-10
Beijing would be the safest option to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, mayor Wang Anshun told the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday. "It would be the safest decision for the International Olypic Committee (IOC) to choose Beijing, which is the most reliable partner for all stakeholders," Wang said. On Tuesday morning, candidate cities of Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China respectively presented their bidding projects to the IOC members in Lausanne, bidding to host the 2022 winter sports gala. Illustrating the legacy of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Wang told the IOC members that the city of Beijing has fully embraced the Olympic spirit and "experience it every day". "With strong public support, government guarantee, sound natural conditions, comprehensive experience in Games organization and your guidance, we are confident that all potential risks could be effectively managed," he added. According to the mayor, Beijing has established an Olympic City Development Association and a fund after the 2008 Games. The average use of the 2008 venues, however, exceeds 85 percent annually. Wang also emphasized that in the past few years, more than half of Beijing's population participated in sports and 2.6 million registered volunteers played active roles to enhance city development as well as quality of people's lives. As to the smog issue, one of the major concerns from the media, mayor Wang explained that Beijing has invested 130 billion US dollars in a five-year comprehensive clean air action plan since 2013. "It would be a beautiful natural environment with blue sky that greets the visitors in Beijing by 2022. "We are confident about that," he said. Earlier this month, the IOC evaluation commission released its comprehensive assessment report on the two bidding cities, saying that the experience of hosting the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games would benefit a 2022 Beijing Games across many operational areas. ^ top ^

Connection between PLA and Indian rebels impossible (Global Times)
2015-06-10
Any claim that Chinese military officers may be in touch with the leaders of an insurgent group - the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) - apparently behind a recent attack on Indian troops is "absurd," experts said Tuesday. The comment came after the Times of India quoted an unnamed ­government ­official as saying that the NSCN-K, who claimed ­responsibility for Thursday's ­ambush in the northeastern state of ­Manipur, "may have ­unilaterally ended its cease-fire … at the behest of ­Chinese ­People's ­Liberation Army (PLA)." Experts believe that the existence of ties between the PLA and Indian rebels is ­impossible. "The Indian media has long been a ­rumormonger when it comes to China's support for the insurgent groups in northeastern India," argued Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asian-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for ­International ­Studies. "A connection between China and the Indian rebels is impossible, especially after India and China resumed diplomatic relationships in 1988." An Indian official claimed that his government had acquired recordings of a phone call in which a PLA official asks the NSCN-K leader about his health and tells him to learn the Chinese language, the ­Indian ­Express reported. "The phone-intercepts can prove ­nothing … It is hard to determine the ­identity of ­Chinese [officials] just by a phone ­conversation. It can be easily forged," said Wang Dehua, director of the Center for South Asian Studies at Tongji University. The Times report is "absurd," according to Li Li, deputy director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. "It is impossible for China to intervene in the domestic affairs of India, especially when the two countries' relationship is developing very well after [Indian Prime ­Minister Narendra] Modi's visit," Li added. China's foreign ministry made no immediate comment as of press time when reached by the Global Times. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets foreign advisors on environment (Xinhua)
2015-06-10
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday met with foreign scholars to solicit their opinions on the environment for the country's 13th five-year plan. Zhang said environmental protection is a fundamental state policy. The 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) covers a crucial period in China's economic and social development and the government will give more weight to environmental protection and low-carbon development, Zhang said. Zhang called on the foreign advisors to promote the steady and healthy growth of China's economic and social development. Vice President of the European Commission Kristalina Georgieva, on behalf of foreign advisors, hailed the progress China has made in seeking eco-friendly development and fighting environmental pollution. Foreign advisors pledged to support China's efforts to protect environment and seek development and promote the sustainable development of China and the world. ^ top ^

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi honoured as China breaks with tradition (SCMP)
2015-06-11
In a rare break from protocol, China's ambassador to Myanmar was at Yangon airport on Wednesday to see off Myanmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she left on her maiden visit to Beijing. During the five-day trip, Suu Kyi was expected to meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in her capacity as chairwoman of Myanmar's National League for Democracy, a NLD spokesman said. After her arrival in Beijing, Suu Kyi met Wang Jiarui, director of the Central Committee's international department, and exchanged views on relations between the two countries. Her visit comes as China and Myanmar celebrate 65 years of bilateral relations. A reception marking the milestone in Yangon on Monday - attended by China's ambassador Yang Houlan and Myanmese Vice-President Sai Mauk Kham - was low-key compared with celebrations in 2010 and 2005 that were graced either by the presence of, or greetings from, Chinese leaders. Analysts say the latest events suggest Beijing believes Suu Kyi is likely to win Myanmar's upcoming election - if she runs - and hopes to restore amicable bilateral ties through her. "Beijing is hedging its bets on a politically ascendant Suu Kyi," said Alvin Cheng-hin Lim, of the Singapore-based Longus Institute for Development and Strategy. "The honours extended to her signify Beijing's anticipation of a regime change in Myanmar." Myanmar was important to China given its strategic location as a land corridor to the Indian Ocean, Lim said, but relations had suffered after the Thein Sein administration suspended the China-backed Myitsone Dam project in 2011 over environmental concerns. He said the suspension greatly embarrassed Beijing as it had just upgraded ties with Myanmar shortly after Thein Sein took office that year. Tensions escalated in March after five Chinese died when a Myanmese warplane accidentally dropped a bomb on the Chinese side of the border during conflict in the Kokang region. Xiamen University professor Fan Hongwei said Beijing was likely to enlist Suu Kyi's help to clear the air between the two nations, especially over the dam suspension. "Suu Kyi and the NLD's words have weight in Myanmar," Fan said. "Beijing would welcome her help to clarify that China is not exploiting Myanmar's resources by investing in its projects." Meanwhile, activists are pressuring Suu Kyi to bring up the case of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving 11 years in a Chinese jail on subversion charges. Asked if Beijing would entertain any appeal by Suu Kyi to have Liu released, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "There is no reason to alter the judgment made in accordance with the law by China's judicial organs." Yun Sun, of the US-based Henry L. Stimson Centre, said Suu Kyi was unlikely to broach the topic in her meetings with senior leaders. She might be posed questions on Liu outside the meetings, however, and Beijing would be closely watching her answers, Sun said. ^ top ^

Washington sees Beijing as rival, not foe (Global Times)
2015-06-11
The public debate about Sino-US relations has grown intense in recent days, with many scholars arguing that a new cold war might have begun. They might be right about the US adopting a tougher stance against China. It seems that on all terms, the US strives to adjust its policies to keep a better lookout for and even contain China. Suspicions about Washington's motives have risen among the Chinese elite, and Beijing has also stepped up preparations for the worst-case scenario. Sino-US relations seem to be at a crossroads with the prospects of either improvement or deterioration. This dramatic change stems from China's rapid rise in recent years, which has gone beyond the expectations of the American elite, who believe China's growing influence is corroding US dominance on both global and regional affairs. China is regarded as the likeliest challenger to US national interests in the global sphere, a scenario under which the structural contradictions between an established power and a rising one have been revealed. Therefore, more Americans are urging Washington to recalibrate its China policy by taking tighter precautions against China's rise in a bid to weaken its momentum. Although there are no proper signs indicating that Washington has employed an all-out containment policy against China, it is obvious that compared to 10 years ago, more risks are breeding in bilateral ties. The worst-case scenario might become a reality if we pay too much attention to the rivalry between China and the US without giving a proper view of how their national interests are becoming more interdependent. It must be noted that in the past century, generally speaking, the US has contributed quite positively to China's development, and there is no irreconcilable conflict of interest between the current US-backed international order and China's rise. China has also been a beneficiary of this order in the past three decades. For China, getting involved in the established order, learning how to play by the rules and making necessary adjustments is more pragmatic and cost-saving than starting one all over again. Although the US sees China a competitor, it still doesn't regard China as a foe, a situation which is far different from the Cold War era when there was enmity between the US and the Soviet Union. Therefore, there is plenty of space for China and the US to manage their ties. A large number of beneficiaries of a stable Sino-US relationship see a standoff as the last choice both governments would make. In the US, with its diverse public opinion, anti-China opinions are not close to the mainstream. The US is learning how to adapt to a rising China on an equal footing. Some Americans don't feel comfortable for the moment, especially considering that there is deep-rooted prejudice and distrust in American elite toward China. In the adaptive phase, frictions may not be avoidable. Thus, China and the US have developed a new type of relationship with a profound mixture of competition and cooperation. Traditional theories of international relations will find them incapable of assessing the true nature of Sino-US relations. Under these circumstances, how to manage the ties by treading lightly between competition and cooperation requires wisdom. We must realize that although China has made impressive achievements in the past decades, it still lags quite far behind the US. The self-correction system of the US still exists, the entire political system is as robust as before, and US society is full of energy. It is wrong to conclude that the US influence is falling into decay. Rising nationalism after the global financial crisis has blinded some Chinese who are looking forward to surpassing the US. We need to keep a clear head, knowing that although many problems are haunting the Western world, China is also facing an influx of problems of various kinds that have been overlooked in the past three decades. These problems deserve to be prioritized. China's rise requires a stable Sino-US relationship, and we must know that as a country which embraces pragmatism, the US will hold back once China's national strength surpasses the US someday. Before that day comes, what we need today is just patience, political savvy, diplomatic skills and a sense of history. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier to visit Russia, Lithuania, Serbia, Kazakhstan (Global Times)
2015-06-11
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will visit Russia, Lithuania, Serbia and Kazakhstan from June 17 to 26. During Zhang's stay in Russia, he will attend the second meeting of the China-Russia Investment Cooperation Committee and the 19th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at a daily press briefing on Wednesday. Hong said Zhang was invited by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, and Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev. ^ top ^

Top military officer will visit Pentagon for high-level talks (China Daily)
2015-06-11
After a symbolic visit to a US aircraft carrier and military bases, a top Chinese officer's visit to the United States will become more substantive as the red carpet of the Pentagon is rolled out for a high-stakes meeting on Thursday. General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, will meet with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon, two weeks after Carter publicly criticized China for its construction work in the South China Sea. Fan will join US Army General Ray Odierno on Friday to sign a US-China Army-to-Army Dialogue Mechanism at the Washington-based National Defense University, US media reported. The Chinese delegation, headed by Fan, started the US trip on Monday, with visits to a Boeing factory in Seattle, the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in San Diego, and the army base at Fort Hood, Texas, before heading to Washington. The trip follows recent friction between the countries over cybersecurity and China's construction work on some of its islands in the South China Sea, and comes ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to the US in September. Observers said the meeting between Fan and Carter will focus on the evolving Sino-US military relationship, and also will cover contentious issues like the South China Sea and cybersecurity. Lu Yin, a researcher at the Institute of Strategic Studies under the People's Liberation Army National Defense University, said China, which has released a number of detailed statements to prove the legitimacy of its construction activities, won't back down. "If the US could view it and its Asian allies' interests in an objective manner, it will tone down its rhetoric," Lu said. Zhao Xiaozhuo, a researcher with the PLA's Academy of Military Science, said it is important for the senior officials of both countries to have face to face meetings to discuss their differences, build consensus and enhance trust. He said it is the highest-level Chinese delegation to visit the US in years. ^ top ^

FM sees new 'golden age' with the UK (China Daily)
2015-06-11
British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed a banner year in UK-China relations, the high point of which will be President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain in October. Speaking after a meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday, Cameron said he was looking forward to meeting Xi. This will be the first official visit to the UK by a Chinese president in the last decade. Cameron visited Beijing in 2013. Xi's visit will be a milestone in the ties between the two countries and could herald the dawn of a new era in relations, Wang said. "We should ensure it goes smoothly and brings our relations into a golden age," he said. Cameron said the UK not only wants to improve relations, it wants to be China's leading global partner. Britain will push for greater bilateral trade, encourage two-way investments and welcome Chinese investments in various fields, including high-speed rail, aviation, telecommunication and civilian nuclear power, Cameron said. Cameron also vowed to facilitate the EU-China Investment Agreement negotiations and support a feasibility study into an EU-China Free Trade Agreement. Tian Dewen, a researcher of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Cameron's goals for the relationship are rooted in his determination to speed up UK economic growth. "The ruling Conservative Party's main focus for this term is to develop the economy and improve the lives of British people. That aim is directly reflected in Britain's high and clear expectations for its economic and trade cooperation with China," Tian said. "Britain wants to seize opportunities to strengthen economic growth from working with the fast-developing Chinese economy." China also sees benefits in working with Britain for overseas opportunities, Tian said. "The two countries share much common ground, like opposition to trade protectionism. Common interests will drive cooperation." Wang also talked with specialists from British think tanks on Tuesday, answering questions about China-related issues, including the Belt and Road Initiative. "China will prove that our development will contribute to world peace and prosperity through our actions, and we'd like to have more communication with foreign experts, including British ones, in a move to help foreigners see China in a sensible, objective and friendly way," Wang said. The British specialists, including Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Peter Nolan, professor at the University of Cambridge, said the UK and the EU attach great importance to China's ongoing development as it is one of the hottest topics in academia. ^ top ^

Philippine media terms Aquino's recent remarks on South China Sea disputes as ignorant, stupid (Xinhua)
2015-06-11
The Philippine newspaper "The Daily Tribune" on Wednesday published a commentary, terming President Benigno Aquino III's recent remarks on the South China Sea disputes as ignorant and stupid. In a speech during his Japan tour last week, Aquino compared China to Nazi Germany with regard to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and called on the United States to play a role in stopping what he called China's rising might. The commentary said the comparison is "absurd and bears no scrutiny." "It not only exposed his (Aquino) 'amateurish' ignorance but also the malice behind the ongoing Philippine, Japanese, and U.S. governments' dance macabre over the fires of history," the commentary said. "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity," the newspaper quoted late U.S. civil rights activist Martin Luther King as saying. "The ignorance and stupidity in serving the global hegemonist's designs on Asia will bring the Philippines to perdition...," the paper added. The Manila Times, a leading daily in the Philippines, said last Thursday that by announcing the inclusion of the disputed territories issue in his Japan visit agenda, Aquino is again stirring the pot. It said "the apparent agitation seems unnecessary and it is unclear what national interest it hopes to serve." China has dismissed Aquino's remarks on the South China Sea disputes, warning the Philippines to give up its illusions, stop such provocations and return to the track of negotiation and consultation. ^ top ^

Shanghai film festival asks South Koreans to stay away over Mers fears (SCMP)
2015-06-12
The Shanghai International Film Festival has asked South Korean guests not to attend due to concerns over the spread of the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus (Mers). "On the principle of being responsible about health, we suggest that they do not come," Yang Xinwei, manager of the festival organiser's press and publicity department, said yesterday. Apart from those invited to serve on the jury for the Gold Goblet Award and the Asian New Talent Award, all other guests from South Korea should cancel their trips, she said. The week-long festival starts tomorrow, but the decision was not made until Wednesday, said another staff member, Yang Beini. Yang said the organiser would "take care" of hotel and flight cancellations, but did not say if there would be compensation. The festival is also cancelling a session themed around Sino-Korean cooperation in film. South Korea has recorded 122 cases of the Mers infection and 10 deaths, the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia. Mao Qunan, a spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, warned in Beijing on Wednesday that the risk of Mers spreading to the mainland had "increased significantly" and urged people travelling to South Korea or the Middle East to be vigilant. The organiser of the film festival sent emails to South Korean executives and filmmakers overnight advising them to cancel their trips, entertainment magazine Variety reported. "According to the current circumstances of the breakout and development of the Mers virus, the South Korean government has adopted a series of protection measures and cancelled mass events and activities. As the guest [of the festival], we consider your health and hope you are taking extra precautions to maintain your well-being," said a letter signed by the film festival committee. "Taking into consideration the health of all our guests, our festival organising committee has also taken some protection measures. We have cancelled some relevant activities. Furthermore, we seriously suggest you consider cancelling your upcoming trip to Shanghai," it read. The festival's main competition had been scheduled to include two South Korean movies - Shameless, which had its international debut last month in Cannes, and romantic comedy Salut d'Amour. Screenings of both would proceed, said Yang. ^ top ^

Chinese president greets Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Beijing (SCMP)
2015-06-12
Despites strained ties, Beijing has called on Myanmar to keep relations between the two neighbours on a stable footing no matter how the domestic situation unfolds in the Southeast Asian nation after Myanmar's general election later this year. The comment was made by President Xi Jinping, also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, as he met Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Beijing yesterday, Xinhua said. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is on a five-day visit to China in her capacity as chairwoman of Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD). She will visit Shanghai and Yunnan province, which shares a nearly 2,200km border with Myanmar, mainland media said. "We hope and believe that the Myanmar side will maintain a consistent stance on China-Myanmar relations and be committed to advancing amicable ties, no matter how its domestic situation changes," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. He said the two countries shared a "common destiny", and called on Suu Kyi and the NLD to play a "constructive" role in guiding the Myanmese public to have an "unbiased and rational" review of bilateral cooperation. Xi's remarks come as relations between the two nations have been strained by renewed clashes in Myanmar's border regions, and the country's shift to the West since political reforms. A general election will be held in Myanmar towards the end of the year, and although Suu Kyi might not be able to run because her two sons hold British citizenship, her party is expected to perform well. Suu Kyi told Xi that she hoped her trip could help boost bilateral ties, CCTV reported. On Wednesday, the ethnically Chinese Kokang rebel group that has been fighting Myanmar government troops since February, announced a unilateral ceasefire following the "Chinese government's strong calls for restoring peace in the China-Myanmar border region". As China's land corridor to the Indian Ocean, Myanmar has strategic significance to the world's largest economy. But ties have been strained since the Thein Sein administration took office in 2011 and suspended the US$3.6 billion China-backed Myitsone Dam project. Stray fire from the Kokang conflict also killed five residents of Yunnan. Professor Qu Jianwen of Yunnan University's School of International Studies said the meeting was significant for Suu Kyi. "The meeting with Xi showed that Suu Kyi, who used to be known for her close ties with the West, has won recognition from major powers from both the East and the West," he said. Yesterday, the Chinese embassy in Myanmar said that ambassador Yang Houlan would soon leave his post. ^ top ^

China urges the US to end 'microphone diplomacy' in disputes with Beijing (SCMP)
2015-06-12
China and the United States differences over the South China Sea and cyber security should not be addressed by “microphone diplomacy” but in a proper way to allow for a successful US visit by President Xi Jinping this year, according to a senior Chinese diplomat. Wu Xi, deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Washington, said individual issues should not be allowed to overshadow the overall US-China relationship and that common interests, including trade volume of US$550 billion last year, far outweigh differences between the countries. “Resorting to microphone diplomacy, or pointing fingers at each other, will not solve any problems,” Wu told a meeting on Capitol Hill to mark the 10th anniversary of the U. Congress's US-China Working Group. “The right choice is to recognise our differences, respect each other and engage in real dialogue,” she said. “The choice we make today will decide the future of our two great nations, as well as the entire world.” Wu was referring to disagreements between Washington and Beijing over China's increasingly assertive pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, which have raised fears of military confrontation, and a massive cyber attack on the US government that American officials have blamed on Chinese hackers. China has called the hacking allegations irresponsible and says it has the right to build artificial islands in its territory. Wu said the two sides should use the annual meeting of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue from June 22-24, and a US visit this week of a top Chinese military official, “to articulate the outcome and deliverables” for Xi's September visit to Washington. “We need to address our differences in a proper way,” she told reporters. Wu said she did not see any US-China tensions, as the countries shared a common interest in peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and always discussed differences. “We have no alternative but to succeed in the interests of our two nations and the world,” she said. US Representative Rick Larson, a co-founder of the bi-partisan Working Group, said that as the world's two largest economies, the United States and China cannot afford not to engage. He called the South China Sea and indications that the cyber-attack originated in China very challenging issues that could not be pushed to one side. “We can't mask those, we can't hide from those,” he said. ^ top ^

Xi urges stable Myanmar ties in changing political winds (Global Times)
2015-06-12
China hopes Myanmar will continue to advance friendly ties no matter how its domestic political situation changes, said Chinese President Xi Jinping during his meeting with Myanmar opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday in Beijing. Suu Kyi is leading a delegation from Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) on a five-day visit to China that started Wednesday. She was invited by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for a party-to-party exchange tour, according to the CPC, with Xi being the Party leader. This is the first China visit by Suu Kyi, who is seen in the West as an icon of democracy. "China always treats the China-Myanmar relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective," Xi said, adding that China supports Myanmar's efforts to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, respects Myanmar's choice of development path on its own, and backs the process of national reconciliation in Myanmar. "We hope and believe that the Myanmar side will also maintain a consistent stance on the China-Myanmar relationship and be committed to advancing friendly ties, no matter how its domestic situation changes," the Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying on Thursday. Myanmar ended its military rule and adopted a democratic election system since 2011. The country will hold another general election in November this year, in which the NLD is expected to do well and may challenge the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Bi Shihong, a professor at the School of International Studies of Yunnan University, said that Xi's emphasis on consistent China-Myanmar ties was intended to stress that the two countries' relations will not be dented by a few recent troubles. Although major projects invested by China in Myanmar, such as the Myitsone dam, have been stalled and conflicts between Myanmar government troops and Kokang militants have spilled across the Chinese border causing the death of Chinese civilians, bilateral relations have not stopped or been set back as some Western observers have described, Bi told the Global Times on Thursday. He said the engagement with Suu Kyi is part of China's multi-faceted diplomacy with Myanmar through a variety of channels. China invited U Shwe Mann, chairman of Myanmar's ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, for a visit in April. Myanmar journalists and scholars have also been invited on separate occasions to get a better understanding of China as well, Bi said. While stressing the unchanging China-Myanmar ties for 65 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Xi also called on Suu Kyi and the NLD to continue to play a constructive role in guiding the Myanmar people on China-Myanmar cooperation in an unbiased and rational way, and "instill more positive energy into the bilateral ties." For her part, Suu Kyi said the NLD attaches great importance to the China-Myanmar friendship. The party admires China's remarkable developmental achievements under the leadership of the CPC, and hopes to further strengthen the two parties' relationship through the visit, according to Xinhua. State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Shen Yueyue, vice chairperson of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and president of the All-China Women's Federation, respectively, also met Suu Kyi on Thursday. Myanmar official media published an amendment to the 2008 state constitution on Thursday, signed by President U Thein Sein, which deleted the restriction that a presidential candidate is disqualified if they have a son- or daughter-in-law who is a foreign citizen or enjoys the privileges of a foreign government. However, the section retains the ban on those whose spouse or legitimate child is a foreign citizen and enjoys the privileges of a foreign government. Suu Kyi will also travel to Shanghai and Yunnan Province, which recently hosted a Chinese military drill near the border with Myanmar after Myanmar's civil war caused casualties across the border, according to media reports. ^ top ^

China's Xi meets Aung San Suu Kyi (Xinhua)
2015-06-12
President Xi Jinping met with a delegation from Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by NLD chair Aung San Suu Kyi, on Thursday afternoon at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. "China and Myanmar are close, friendly neighbors," said the Chinese president, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. The traditional friendship between China and Myanmar has not changed for 65 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, and practical cooperation has yielded fruitful results, said Xi. "[China and Myanmar] have become a community of common interests and common destiny sharing weal and woe," Xi said. He proposed that the two sides continue to work together, and honor the bilateral friendship and cooperation. "China always treats the China-Myanmar relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective," Xi said, adding that China supports Myanmar's efforts to safeguard sovereignty independence and territorial integrity, respects Myanmar's choice for development path on its own, and backs the process of reconciliation in Myanmar. He said China will firmly cement the friendship with Myanmar and boost cooperation. "We hope and believe that the Myanmar side will also maintain a consistent stance on China-Myanmar relationship and be committed to advancing friendly ties, no matter how its domestic situation changes," said the president. Suu Kyi echoed Xi saying friendly ties between Myanmar and China as neighbors were of great importance. Xi said the CPC and the NLD have made rapid progress in developing their ties and enjoyed increasingly close cooperation since both sides started contact. "I hope this visit will help deepen your understanding on China and the CPC, which will contribute to our mutual understanding and trust, and lay a better foundation for the party-to-party and state-to-state relationship," Xi said. Suu Kyi, on her part, said the NLD attached high importance to the friendship between Myanmar and China. The party admired China's remarkable developmental achievements under the leadership of the CPC, and hoped to further strengthen the two parties' relationship through the visit. She hoped the visit could also push forward friendly ties between the two peoples. Xi also called on Suu Kyi and the NLD to continue to play a constructive role in guiding the Myanmar people regarding their view on China-Myanmar cooperation in an unbiased and rational way, and instil more positive energy into the bilateral ties. Invited by the CPC, Suu Kyi is on her first China visit from Wednesday to Sunday. Wang Jiarui, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, met Suu Kyi on Wednesday afternoon. State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Shen Yueyue, vice chairperson of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and president of the All-China Women's Federation, also met Suu Kyi on Thursday. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Wails of grief as relatives of Yangtze ship disaster victims mourn on seventh day (SCMP)
2015-06-08
Family members of those who died in the Eastern Star disaster and rescue workers bowed in mourning towards the battered cruise ship yesterday, the seventh day of a tragedy that has killed at least 432 passengers and left another 10 missing. In addition to a government-held ceremony, some family members of the dead performed their own rituals. On the northern bank of the Yangtze River in Yanpu village, Jianli county in Hubei province, about three dozen relatives wailed in grief under an overcast sky. The boat capsized in stormy weather last Monday night, and yesterday was touqi - the seventh day after death. It is traditionally believed this is the day the departed overcome the initial confusion after death and return to bid farewell to their family. Family members arrived at the riverside in one group after another, under the direction of government workers from Jianli county. Dozens of white chrysanthemums were thrown into the water. Relatives burned incense, ghost money and other offerings, wishing their loved ones well. Bouquets, bowls of rice and fruit were scattered for kilometres along the bank, while the smell of incense lingered in the air. More than 10km downstream, hundreds of rescuers and government officials bowed in mourning towards the Eastern Star during a three-minute silence at about 9am. Ships at the scene sounded their horns. A military doctor, who has been at the site since Tuesday, said he had never seen so many bodies carried from the scene of a tragedy in just a few days. He has helped rescue operations for 30 years and assisted the response to major earthquakes in the mainland's west. "The bodies were all soaked with water, which had filled their stomachs. They were so much heavier than normal bodies. At first we deployed four people to carry one body on the stretcher, but it wasn't enough. Later we deployed six, and in the end eight," he said. Authorities are comparing the DNA of victims and immediate family members. After a match is confirmed, the relatives can view the bodies before they are cremated. "Until now, I couldn't believe this had happened to me and my family. I hope it will never happen to others. Only we ourselves can understand this kind of pain," said a woman, whose 65-year-old father was among the dead. Locals have shown hospitality to the hundreds of grieving visitors who have arrived during the past week. More than 300 taxis and 1,500 private cars have volunteered to drive family members around without charge, while residents have offered up their own rooms after all the hotels in town became fully booked. ^ top ^

China ensures citizens' right to impartial trial: white paper (China Daily)
2015-06-08
China is making greater efforts to ensure citizens' right to impartial trial to promote judicial fairness, justice and human rights, a white paper on China's human rights said on Monday. The document, titled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2014" and released by the State Council Information Office, said that in 2014 China's judicial bodies at all levels enhanced judicial justice and openness, adopted multiple judicial reform measures and ensured impartiality in the trial of cases, thereby safeguarding human rights in the field of justice at a higher level. Public security, procuratorial and judicial bodies continued to implement relevant laws and regulations to improve the mechanisms of preventing, identifying and redressing cases involving unjust, false and wrongful charges throughout all criminal procedures from investigation to prosecution to trials, it said. In 2014, a number of major criminal cases involving unjust, false, or wrongful charges were redressed in accordance with the principle of "no punishment in doubtful cases." The white paper mentioned that the Higher People's Court of Fujian Province heard the poisoning case involving Nian Bin, and acquitted the suspect on the ground of "lacking sufficient evidence." Also, the Higher People's Court of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region retried the case of Huugjilt who was originally charged with intentional homicide and indecent assault, and absolved him of guilt. Based on the principles of "statutory crime and penalty," "no punishment in doubtful cases" and "evidentiary adjudication," the courts acquitted 518 defendants in cases of public prosecution and 260 in cases of private prosecution, thereby maintaining the freedom of innocent people, the white paper said. Also, the system of excluding illegally obtained evidence is being strictly implemented. In 2014, by refusing to adopt illegally obtained evidence, procuratorial bodies at all levels decided not to arrest 406 people and not sue 198 people, it said. The white paper said judicial openness, the judicial system reform and the state compensation and judicial assistance systems have also been enhanced. ^ top ^

Progress in China's Human Rights in 2014 (Global Times)
2015-06-08
In 2014 China continued to take the initiative in exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the realm of human rights. It played a constructive role in the UN's human rights bodies, and endeavored to promote the sound development of human rights on the international stage. China fully participated in the global governance of human rights. Chinese delegations attended the UN Human Rights Council's (HRC) 25th, 26th and 27th sessions, and 20th, 21st and 22nd special sessions, the relevant meetings of the Third Committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, the 18th, 19th and 20th sessions of the HRC's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, and a series of multilateral conferences such as the HRC's Social Forum and Forum on Business and Human Rights. In those meetings, China actively introduced its principles, policies and achievements in the human rights field, joined in the discussions of various topics, brought all member states' attention to the reasonable assertions of developing countries, and urged the UN's human rights mechanisms to deal with all human rights issues in a just and objective manner. The Chinese government actively participated in the intergovernmental process of the UN General Assembly on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, and played a constructive role therein. With the efforts of China and other countries holding similar positions, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to strengthen and enhance the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system. In April 2014 China was reelected as a member of the UN's Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. China conscientiously fulfilled its international human rights obligations. In March 2014 the HRC approved China's actions after receiving HRC's second Universal Period Review for China. With an open mind and in a serious manner, China accepted 204 recommendations, or 81 percent, raised by other countries during the review, which received worldwide praise. In May 2014 the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights reviewed China's second periodic report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Chinese delegation explained in a thorough manner their country's achievements in safeguarding its people's economic, social and cultural rights, and replied candidly to the questions raised by the Committee, with some Committee experts regarding it as an exemplary review. China's combined seventh and eighth periodic report on its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in October 2014. With a confident, inclusive and open attitude, the Chinese delegation held a constructive dialogue with the Committee. Promotion of cooperation with the UN's human rights bodies. China continued to cooperate closely with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, promising to greatly increase its donations to the office in the period 2014-2017. It held constructive talks with the Special Procedures of the HRC, earnestly replied to its letters on time, and invited its independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to visit China. Enhancing bilateral human rights dialogues and communication with other countries. In 2014 China held human rights dialogues and communication with the EU, the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and entered into technical cooperation with Australia regarding human rights, so as to improve mutual understanding. It also held discussions with Russia on human rights affairs, and communicated with Laos and Sri Lanka in the field to share the experience gained from international human rights work. It sent a delegation to attend the 14th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Informal Seminar on Human Rights, exchanging views with human rights officials of other Asian and European countries, and civil society representatives. The China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development jointly held the seventh session of the Beijing Forum on Human Rights. Centering on the theme of "The Chinese Dream: New Progress in China's Human Rights," participants both at home and abroad engaged in deep and extensive discussion concerning the sub-topics of "the Chinese dream and human rights," "trans-cultural international exchanges on human rights" and "national governance innovation and human rights protection, and anti-terrorism and human rights protection." Working closely with other countries, China will continue to spare no effort to promote the wholesome development of human rights worldwide. ^ top ^

Ethnic minorities enjoy religious belief freedom (China Daily)
2015-06-08
The religious belief freedom of ethnic minorities has been fully guaranteed in China, a white paper on China's human rights said on Monday. Taking Tibet as an example, currently there are 1,787 venues for various religious worship activities there, with 46,000 resident monks and nuns, said the white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council. Living Buddha reincarnation, a special succession system of Tibetan Buddhism, is respected by the state, it said, adding that there are 358 living Buddhas in Tibet. All the monks and nuns in Tibet are covered by health insurance, pension insurance, basic living allowance and personal accident insurance. The Tibetan government also provides free physical examinations to monks and nuns annually. Efforts are also made to preserve the ethnic minorities' religious classics. The Chinese government has provided 35 million yuan (about 5.7 million U.S. dollars) in publishing the Chinese Tripitaka (Tibetan) over the past two decades. The Chinese Islamic Association has compiled and published Islamic scriptures in Arabic. The Association has also set up a website in the Uygur language, providing introduction of religious knowledge and online explanation of the scriptures. In 2014, a total of 14,466 Chinese Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Relevant government departments have sent accompanying medical staff to guarantee the pilgrims' health and safety, the paper said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier calls for global cooperation on food security (Xinhua)
2015-06-08
Food security is a global issue and all countries should work together to promote grain production and eliminate hunger, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said here Sunday. Noting that China has attached great importance to agriculture and food production, Wang said the country has achieved growth in grain production for 11 consecutive years, with annual output surpassing 600 million tons in the past two years. China's efforts have improved not only the country's own food security situation, but also made a great contribution to the global fight against hunger, Wang said at an event organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. "The whole world should cooperate on food security, as it is a global issue," Wang said, adding that the world could eliminate hunger and poverty only if all countries work together. ^ top ^

China's greenhouse gas emissions may peak by 2025, says study (SCMP)
2015-06-09
China's greenhouse gas emissions will probably peak in 2025, five years earlier than its stated target, according to a study released on Monday. On current trends, the world's biggest carbon emitter will discharge 12.5-14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, after which emissions will decline, it said. The work was carried out by two research institutes at the London School of Economics. “This finding suggests it is increasingly likely that the world will avoid global warming of more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” they said in a statement. The average temperature goal, which translates into 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, is the upper limit targeted by the UN, which is seeking to enshrine it in a global accord in December. “Analysing trends in the key emitting sectors, we conclude that China's greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to peak as late as 2030, the upper limit set by President Xi Jinping in November 2014, and are much more likely to peak by 2025,” said the paper, co-authored by climate economist Nicholas Stern and analyst Fergus Green. “They could peak even earlier than that.” The report pointed out that Chinese coal consumption fell in 2014 and in the first quarter of 2015 after years of growth that led to severe air pollution in its cities and massive emissions of greenhouse gases. The researchers calculated that China's coal use has reached a “structural maximum” and should plateau over the next five years, while natural gas use grows rapidly. This was caused by structural changes in the economy as well as government policies targeting more sustainable growth with a reduced environmental impact. United Nations member states are gathered in Bonn until Friday to sculpt a world climate pact they have agreed to ink at the global conference in Paris. The agreement, with the 2 C goal in mind, would enter into force in 2020, supported by a register of national greenhouse gas emissions curbs. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a 2 C pathway requires annual greenhouse gas cuts of 40 to 70 per cent by 2050, compared to levels in 2010 -- and to zero or below by 2100. “Whether the world can get onto that pathway in the decade or more after 2020 depends in significant part on China's ability to reduce its emissions at a rapid rate post-peak,” said the new study. Current global emissions are about 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, about a quarter by China alone, according to analyst Green. The paper said China's political culture may explain why its government erred on the side of caution in stating its objective of peaking emissions around 2030. ^ top ^

Senior leader urges progress of Party members' discipline awareness (Xinhua)
2015-06-09
Senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Liu Yunshan has called for self-discipline and honesty among Party members through political education. Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, made the remarks during an inspection tour in Fujian Province in east China from Saturday to Monday. The visit focused on a national campaign to promote a series of requirements for officials to improve their life and work style raised by President Xi Jinping in March last year. The concept means to be strict in moral, use of power and disciplining oneself and to be honest in decisions, business and behavior. During his visit to local residents' houses and economic zones, after hearing the achievements local people have made, he urged officials to continue to upheld the spirit of integrity and resilience, and learn from the example of outstanding staff to guide and improve their own working methods. Liu said the education campaign should be problem-oriented, integrating ideological promotion with solving the real and urgent issues. He also encouraged officials at all levels to enhance their working abilities, adjust to the economic "new normal" so as to carry forward the Party spirit of reform and innovation. ^ top ^

New railway to link Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin (Xinhua)
2015-06-09
Northern Chinese transport authorities are aiming to build a second intercity railway between Beijing and neighboring Tianjin Municipality this year, with a route incorporating a stop in Hebei Province. Intercity trains started transporting passengers between the two cities in 2008, but that route does not stop in Hebei. The new service forms part of the region's development plan, based on integrating Beijing and its surrounding areas. Tianjin-bound trains on the route will stop in Hebei's Xianghe County and Tianjin's Baodi District before reaching the destination of Binhai New District in eastern Tianjin, Liu Bozheng, an official with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said on Monday. Last year, state-owned enterprise China Railway and other investors from Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin pumped 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) into establishing an intercity train company that is now drafting transportation development plans for the region. The company will launch an intercity railway between Beijing and Hebei's Tangshan City this year. ^ top ^

Exam imposter gang busted, ringleader detained (China Daily)
2015-06-09
The suspected leader of a gang that allegedly hired university students to take the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, for its "clients" has been detained by the police in Jiangxi province, authorities said on Monday. The 48-year-old man, surnamed Zhao, was arrested on a train heading to Jinan, Shandong province, after the test fraud was exposed, according to Jiangxi police. Jiangxi police also arrested a 20-year-old suspected member of the ring, surnamed Peng, a student at a well-known university in Wuhan, Hubei province. Police said he confessed and gave the names of five other substitute exam takers. By Monday evening, nine suspects had been detained by police, according to the Jiangxi Department of Education. On Sunday morning, police in Jiangxi detained two suspects after the media reported they took the exam under the names of other students. Southern Metropolis Daily, in Guangdong province, reported on Sina Weibo that one of its reporters had infiltrated a criminal gang that allegedly hired university students to take the two-day national college entrance exam for other candidates. On Friday, Zhao ordered his assistant to ask four test takers, including Peng, to head to Nanchang from Wuhan to take the test for others, and they were given accommodations in a hotel, according to police. The police said Zhao gave them fake IDs and the admission cards for the exam, and promised to give them considerable rewards if they obtained a high score, which would help his clients win a place at a top university. According to the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter, all four test takers were university students from Hubei province, and they had taken the test on previous occasions. According to Jiangxi police, the suspects usually charged the clients between 40,000 and 50,000 yuan ($8,150) to gain them admission to an undergraduate school. If the test takers helped a student obtain a place at a famous university, the clients were charged more than 1 million yuan. ^ top ^

Man shoots, kills four people, injures 5 (Global Times)
2015-06-10
A man from Cangzhou, North China's Hebei Province shot and killed four people, including two police officers, and injured another five, local news site yzdsb.com.cn reported on Tuesday. Liu Shuangrui, 55, shot and killed two fellow villagers in Xishibao, Suning county and injured three others with a double-barreled hunting rifle at midnight on Monday, according to a statement from the Cangzhou public security bureau. Liu was also found dead. Xue Yongqing, political commissar of the Suning county public security bureau, and Yuan Shuai, a bureau officer, succumbed to gunshot wounds they sustained while trying to chase and arrest Liu. Liu was found dead on Tuesday after he was trapped in his house, according to the statement, without saying if police had shot him dead. The five injured people are being treated and in stable condition, said the statement. Liu's motives remain unclear, police said, adding that they are investigating how he acquired the rifle. The victims include a senior couple aged over 70, and two brothers who are Liu's relatives. Local villagers told the Global Times that Liu had mental illness, but the police did not confirm it. "The victims are all Xishibao villagers. Liu came to shoot them in their houses around 12 am," a villager surnamed Liu, who is not related to the suspect, told the Global Times. "Although we are aware of his disease, no one would have expected such a tragedy as he seemed normal when he didn't suffer from attacks," the villager said. "Liu used the gun for hunting rabbits or some small animals and he did not hand it in to local police during a previous campaign," said the villager, adding that the gunshots sounded like firecrackers going off and that was why many villagers did not come out to check. China bans the manufacture and selling of guns as part of its efforts to crack down on violent crimes. Chinese nationals are strictly forbidden from owning firearms. One should obtain a permit from local public security organs to purchase a hunting rifle or an injection-gun. China's Criminal Law imposes a penalty of up to seven years in jail for those possessing illegal firearms. ^ top ^

Soaring lawsuits test Chinese judges (Global Times)
2015-06-10
The public have rushed to file for legal action following revisions to the way in which lawsuits are filed last month, putting the ability of judges to improve judicial efficiency to the test. In the last month, China has seen a 29 percent increase of lawsuits filed, according to Sun Jungong, spokesperson of the Supreme People's Court (SPC). She said that after the courts changed their filing procedure from accreditation to registration on May 1, it was much easier for the public to file cases. Courts now accept cases immediately as long as they meet certain basic requirements. Sun said that 90 percent of lawsuits are now filed on the spot. The revisions have placed more pressure on judges, some have even left their positions thanks, in part, to another measure on the recruitment of competent judges and prosecutors. Disputes lodged include land expropriation, housing demolition, enterprise ownership transfer and property services. The filing of administrative cases alone have seen a dramatic increase of 221 percent. The courts have also seen their fair share of weird lawsuits. Gan Wen, a senior judge with the SPC, said a man in Shanghai filed a lawsuit against a famous actress for "staring at me" from the television. Gan said the filing procedure revisions would improve the judicial system and ensure efficiency, while the recruitment reform will professionalize the judiciary. "Some judges will complain of feeling overwhelmed if they hear 400 cases a year, but in other countries, annually judges deal with as many as 3,000 and see it as no big deal," said Gan. ^ top ^

China's first MERS patient in stable condition (Global Times)
2015-06-10
China's first confirmed Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) patient is in stable condition as he slowly recovers, the health and family planning commission of Guangdong Province said Tuesday. A man from the Republic of Korea (ROK) tested positive for MERS in Guangdong on May 29. The man has had no fever for four days, but still occasionally coughs and his lungs are inflammed, the commission said in a press release. The agency said his condition was returning to stable, but still warned that his condition might change. The man has tested negative for MERS twice, said Deng Longxi, a doctor from the No. 8 People's Hospital in Guangzhou who is in charge of the treatment. The commission said they had quarantined 75 people who had close contact with the man, and all of them tested negative for MERS. The man, 44, had visited a MERS patient at an ROK hospital and expressed discomfort as early as May 21. Despite a doctor recommending that he cancel his travel plans, he flew to Hong Kong on May 26 and entered Huizhou City via Shenzhen. Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert, said a massive outbreak of MERS in China was unlikely given a lack of evidence on sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus. Local officials and doctors have also expressed confidence in controlling the virus, citing experience gained from outbreaks of bird flu and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). SARS was first reported in 2002 in Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong. It killed around 800 people in the world. In addition, Guangdong is one of the Chinese provinces that has dealt with the bulk of H7N9 bird flu cases since it emerged in 2013. MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, similar to SARS. The first human case emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a fatality rate of about 40 percent. ^ top ^

China 'still set for healthy growth' (China Daily)
2015-06-10
Premier Li Keqiang said China is confident of keeping its annual growth rate around 7 percent for a fair period of time by persisting with its reform and opening-up and tapping its huge potential. While meeting with international business leaders on Tuesday, Li said conditions still exist for China to sustain its growth at a "medium-to-high level" despite the economy's current slowdown. Li said he drew his confidence from the fact that large areas are yet to be developed in central and western China, reflecting the gap between the relatively industrialized coastal areas and those regions. "If the Chinese economy could expand at around 7 percent this year, it would translate into an incremental volume of about $800 billion," he said. The premier made the remarks when meeting with members of the Global CEO Council in Beijing. The council, an organization set up in 2013 by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, includes 14 global corporate leaders from the manufacturing, natural resources, energy, machinery, agriculture, finance, banking, pharmaceutical, aviation, engineering, logistics and information technology sectors. Li admitted there will be "twists and turns" as foreign companies try to expand business in China, but he said China's opening-up into a better-integrated global economy will not be held back. Foreign-invested companies in China should be one of the powers maintaining the medium-to-high growth of the Chinese economy, Li said. Additionally, in a bid to attract more foreign investors, the Chinese government will further open market access, provide better financial services and step up intellectual property rights protection, Li said. "Sectors in high-end manufacturing and the service industry in particular will be opened wider to foreigners," he said. Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and chief executive of Alcoa, the largest US producer of aluminum, said he looked forward to China's push to upgrade its economy. He added that he believed there are tremendous opportunities for his company to cooperate with China in automotives and aerospace, which are seeing increasing demand for lightweight metal and materials. "Premier Li is a very distinguished economist and he has very valid views … And I think it is decently well understood that the current administration wants to change the pattern in China to have a more consumption- and innovation-driven and more value-added economy," he said. Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of US investment bank Goldman Sachs Group, said he anticipated further liberalization of the Chinese economy. "Every day I wake up to another announcement about another liberalizing move. I think it is important for China to do so," he said. Blankfein said that the idea of economic cycles, which China is not immune to, should be taken into consideration. "China has achieved a very high growth rate at some cost … so growth has to be absorbed, mistakes have to be corrected and bad investments have to be written off in order to have another stage of rapid growth," he said. ^ top ^

China unveils plan for pollution tax (SCMP)
2015-06-11
The State Council has issued a draft environment tax law that proposes targeting air, water, noise and solid waste pollution through levies on polluters. The move, announced yesterday, appears to be part of Beijing's promise to implement regulations that will force polluters to pay for the damage they do. The council proposed the following rates: 1.4 yuan per 4kg of suspended solids for water pollutants, a range of 5-30 yuan per tonne for solid waste and 1.2 yuan per unit for air pollutants. For air pollutants, what counts as a unit will depend on the pollutant. Sulphur dioxide, for example, will attract a levy of 1.2 yuan per 0.95kg. Industrial noises will also attract levies, according to the level of decibels recorded. These will be on a scale of 350 yuan to 11,200 yuan, but the council did not say if these were daily rates or another timeframe. Such taxes may be halved for companies emitting below half the national standard. Provincial governments may raise the rates according to local environmental conditions, state-run Xinhua reported. The taxes will exclude pollutants from agriculture except those from large-scale animal husbandry and mobile pollution sources including motor vehicles, locomotives, non-road mobile machinery, ships and aircraft, as long as the pollutants are within national standards. Normal emissions by urban sewage and refuse treatment plants will also be exempted. For many companies, the cost of complying with environmental regulations has traditionally outweighed the fines, giving industries little incentive to install clean technologies. Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law, which went into effect on January 1, also include provisions to bolster financial and criminal punishments for transgressors. Environment Minister Chen Jining said on Tuesday that the environment in China had "reached its limit", with high pollution and ecological damage. He said the government would take "more forceful measures" over the next five years to protect the environment. Commenting on the draft environmental tax law, Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said it would motivate companies to embrace clean technology. Ma said the law offered a smooth transition from the pollutant discharge fees companies currently pay, but it would take time to see how it would fare in the long term. "It's an issue whether the levy could be charged accurately based on the pollutants generated. It will take time to observe whether the levy will be as negotiable as pollution discharge fees," Ma said. He said data collection needed to be consistent and urged environmental and taxation authorities to be open in disclosing such data. "Transparency is very important. Not only will it allow taxation authorities to get up-to-date information over the amount of pollution a company has produced, it will allow the public to monitor how effectively the levy is being invested back into environmental protection." ^ top ^

Computing jobs most lucrative for China's graduates (SCMP)
2015-06-11
China's computing graduates are enjoying the highest incomes, riding on the back of the country's internet boom, a study says. Jobs in internet development and applications were China's best-paid professions, with last year's graduates in those jobs earning an average monthly salary of 4,582 yuan (HK$5,800), according to a report released on Wednesday by education analysis firm Mycos. These were followed by graduates in computer- and data-processing jobs, who earned 4,562 yuan a month on average. Graduates in those high-paying professions studied computer science or technology and software engineering, the report said. The annual study – which has become Chinese graduates' authoritative handbook for employment since it was first published seven years ago – surveyed 264,000 graduates from 2011 and 2014. Among those who graduated in 2011, jobs in internet development and applications were also the best-paid, with the graduates earning 8,289 yuan a month on average, the report said. Industry-wise, graduates last year who joined the media, information and communications industry earned the most at 4,304 yuan. The finance industry came next, with a monthly average income of 4,291 yuan. Graduates in medical professions earned comparatively less, with physicians being the lowest paid, earning 2,713 yuan six months after graduating. Pharmacists and surgeons were paid about 3,000 yuan. The average income of those who graduated last year stood at 3,487 yuan, according to the report. This was 7.3 per cent higher than 2013's 3250 yuan. “Deducting the inflation factors, the income of graduates over the past three years maintained stable growth,” Mycos said in the report. Mycos' survey also found that 61 per cent of last year's graduates were satisfied with their jobs – 5 percentage points higher than in 2013. Some 46 per cent said their jobs matched their expectations. Findings from those who graduated in 2011 showed their average monthly salaries had risen 98 per cent to 5,484 yuan since they graduated. The income growth of these 2011 graduates outstripped that of urban residents, whose salaries rose 17.4 per cent in the same period, the report said. “The long-term income advantage of college education is considerable,” Mycos said. ^ top ^

President Xi expects Panchen Lama to be a patriot (Global Times)
2015-06-11
President Xi Jinping met the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu on Wednesday, and asked him to carry on the patriotic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Xi hoped that the Panchen Lama would keep the motherland and its people in his heart and work for the unity of the country and for all its ethnic groups. The President said during the meeting that he expected the Panchen Lama to grow into "a Tibetan Buddhist leader with great religious acumen, deeply loved by the monks and secular followers." The Panchen Lama should carry on the legacy of his predecessor and actively engage in the cause of incorporating Tibetan Buddhism into socialist society under the Buddhist principles of equality and compassion among all beings. He suggested that the Panchen Lama promote positive Buddhist doctrines, such as upholding kindness, denouncing wickedness, promoting equality and generosity, as well as helping the needy. The Panchen Lama was also advised to advance his religious study, nurture his own virtue and expand his vision by studying science and culture. Xi said the Chinese government has always paid high attention to the development of Tibet. This year marks the 50th anniversary of establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region, and the central authorities will send delegations to Tibet to celebrate with local people. Xi also said he is convinced that Tibet will achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society together with other regions of the country by 2020, and he wished a bright and prosperous future to Tibet. During the meeting, Panchen Lama presented President Xi with a hada -- a piece of silk used as a greeting gift among the Tibetan and Mongol people. He also detailed his study and work over the past two decades, which the president replied to with warm congratulations. Panchen Lama promised that he would learn from the example of 10th Panchen Lama to unswervingly safeguard national unity and ethnic harmony. He also said he would bear in mind President Xi's advice, to learn hard and work vigorously to make his contribution to Tibetan Buddhism and socialist construction, so as to live up to the expectations of the people. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also attended the meeting. ^ top ^

China's disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang jailed for life over graft (SCMP)
2015-06-12
The mainland's former security tsar Zhou Yongkang was yesterday sentenced to life in jail - the most senior official to receive such a heavy sentence since the Cultural Revolution, although analysts say he was treated relatively favourably. The Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People's Court tried Zhou in secret last month on charges of taking bribes, abuse of power and intentionally leaking state secrets, Xinhua reported. He was also stripped of his political rights for life and his personal assets confiscated, it said. Analysts said the Communist Party had broken a long-held taboo against prosecuting members of its inner circle and that by avoiding the death sentence, Zhou got off lightly. Central China Television showed a short clip of the trial on its evening newscast, in which a white-haired Zhou is seen standing and listening to the court's guilty verdict. A judge asked: "Have you heard this clearly?" Without any visible emotion, Zhou replied: "I've heard clearly." He said he accepted the verdict and would not appeal. He also said his crimes had harmed the party and admitted to his guilt. Zhou, 72, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee - the highest decision-making body in the country - was formally charged in April. The trial took place on May 22. It was not open to the public because his case involved the disclosure of state secrets, Xinhua said. On the charge of taking bribes, Zhou was sentenced to life imprisonment, had his political rights withdrawn and assets confiscated. For abuse of power, he was jailed for seven years, and for leaking state secrets he was given four years behind bars. The court ruled that Zhou and his family took 129.77 million yuan (HK$164 million) in bribes from his close allies. Jiang Jiemin, the former head of the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and former chairman of the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), where Zhou was a top official for 10 years, gave him 731,000 yuan, the court found. The court said Zhou had abused his power by asking Jiang and former Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng to direct more than 2.13 billion yuan of illegal gains to his son and other businessmen, causing a loss of 1.48 billion yuan to the economy. Zhou also gave six classified documents, five of which were top secret, to Cao Yongzheng, whom mainland media have described as a "qigong master". Most of the bribes were taken by his relatives and he had asked them to hand back the money, the court said, adding all the money had been confiscated. A commentary by People's Daily said the verdict showed no one could stand above the law, and opposition to corruption had become a national consensus. Political analysts said although Zhou was sentenced to life in jail, and the party had broken a previous unspoken rule that former members of the Politburo's elite Standing Committee would not be prosecuted, he was still let off relatively lightly, given what the court said he did. Political commentator Li Weidong said Zhou's escape of the death sentence, unlike some lower officials who were convicted of taking much less in bribes, showed he was still treated leniently. They said his trial arrived suddenly without publicity, compared with the open trial of his ally, former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai in 2013, because the party did not want to further tarnish its image. Chen Daoyin, a political scientist at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said the anti-corruption drive and trial of Bo had built up a "circus effect", which the party was now keen to cool. Political commentator Ching Cheong said the verdict avoided mentioning the political reason for Zhou's prosecution, which was that he posed a threat to President Xi Jinping. The Supreme People's Court in March accused Zhou and Bo of "engaging in political activities [not approved by the party]". Ching said the party wanted to play down Zhou's sentencing because it wanted to uphold its legitimacy among ordinary Chinese. "It wants to safeguard the security of the regime," he said. A lawyer with knowledge of the cases of Zhou and his family, who declined to be named, said the sentencing should have been open to the public. Gu Yongzhong, one of Zhou's lawyers, said his client's right to defend himself was adequately protected. ^ top ^

Deaths 'expose plight of left-behind children' (China Daily)
2015-06-12
Experts said on Thursday that a case in which four siblings died after being left without parental care amid China's urbanization drive again exposes the plight of such youngsters. Police in Bijie, Guizhou province, have confirmed that the four children died after ingesting pesticide on Tuesday. The four, aged 5 to 13, consumed pesticide at their home in Cizhu, a village in the city's Qixingguan district at about 11 pm on Tuesday in an apparent suicide attempt and later died in a hospital, police said. The children had been without parental care since March after their father, Zhang Fangqi, left to take a job far from home. Their mother, Ren Xifen, had left home in March last year after a bitter feud with her husband. The deaths come two and a half years after an incident in which five street children were found dead in trash in Bijie. The five, found more than a week after they disappeared, had lit a fire to stay warm on the night of Nov 15, 2012, before they died from carbon monoxide poisoning, police said. As of Thursday, local authorities had been unable to contact the four siblings' parents. Caring for themselves, the siblings had been living among 500 kg of stored corn and 25 kg of preserved meat in a three-story home. Zhang sent money to a bank account he had set up for his eldest son, police said. The local government had provided the family with a minimum living allowance since 2012, and the account had more than 3,500 yuan ($560) in it. Pan Ling, a distant relative of the children, said they were socially withdrawn and often skipped class. The grandparents, who otherwise would be taking care of the children, had died. The incident on Tuesday is at least the sixth case nationwide since 2008 in which children who were left without parental care apparently committed suicide or attempted to. The Bijie city government said after the 2012 incident that it would launch a special fund of 60 million yuan ($9.7 million) each year to help children who are left without parental care. Bijie Mayor Chen Changxu said in November 2012 that the incident that year had exposed vulnerabilities in the city's social management and the care of "left-behind" children. Chen vowed that the city would establish an archive system to keep track of all children without parental care and would ensure that no children were left on the streets. However, Tang Jun, a social policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Tuesday's incident "showed that the government intervention measures have failed. The role of parents cannot be replaced, and the best way is to ensure that the children go with their parents as they migrate to other cities to work". "For decades, we have merely required a workforce from the migrant workers. If we do not provide them with more social benefits, similar cases will take place again and again," he said. Li Yifei, deputy director of the Scientific Communication and Education Research Center at Beijing Normal University, said "left-behind" children have a much bigger chance of experiencing psychological problems. "Intervention would also be difficult because normally the children would not display abnormal behavior, even if you try to ask questions. However, they generally evade or react strongly to questions about their parents," he said. The role of teachers can also be crucial, he said. "Teachers should receive psychological training to monitor the mental state of children. The key is to identify the children who might have mental problems and ensure that there will be intervention in time. "However, there are few teachers or psychological workers in regions where the left-behind children are concentrated," he said. ^ top ^

Court extends review of high-profile rape-murder case (Global Times)
2015-06-12
The review of a high-profile rape-murder case involving the execution of a 21-year-old man in 1995 has been extended for another three months due to its complexity, the Shandong High People's Court announced on Thursday. The presiding judge promised to remain impartial, in response to recent rumors that a senior Hebei official said at a meeting that the case's verdict would never change no matter who reviews the case, be it Hebei or Shandong judicial organs, Chen Guangwu, a lawyer of Nie Shubin, told the Global Times on Thursday. Nie was convicted by the Hebei High People's Court of raping and murdering a woman surnamed Kang in a cornfield on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang in 1994. However, Wang Shujin, who was separately convicted for the rape and murder of three other women, confessed in 2005 that he was responsible for Kang's death. Wang was also sentenced to death but has yet to be executed. In December 2014, the Supreme People's Court requested the Shandong High People's Court to review the case for six months. The review was supposed to end on Thursday. Zhu Yunshan, the presiding judge of the Shandong court's review panel, told Nie's family and two lawyers that with the approval of the supreme court, the case will continue to be reviewed until September 15, since the case's significance and complexity require further investigation, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday. Zhu said the court has been following the principles of openness, fairness and impartiality in reviewing Nie's case. "We understand that the review panel needs more time to reexamine the evidence given the long time span, tremendous public attention and pressure from Hebei authorities," Chen said. Li Shuting, Nie's other attorney, told the Global Times they will aid the court review by providing additional evidence, but declined to provide details. "When defense lawyers exposed loopholes in the case, that's when Hebei authorities interfered and several witnesses refused to cooperate with the lawyers," Chen said. ^ top ^

Pollution, tourism put coasts at risk (China Daily)
2015-06-12
Depleted fisheries and pollution have left Wu Ruiwei and his peers in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region needing to travel farther out to sea for fish and shrimp. Fisherman Wu, from Qiaogang, said he used to earn at least 300,000 yuan ($48,400) annually until five years ago. "Without the country's diesel subsidies to fishermen, I would be losing money now," he said. Fellow fisherman Fan Chengjin added: "When I was a child, our boat could be filled immediately with fish in one net near the port. But now only small fish can be found." There are more than 10,000 fishermen in the town of Qiaogang, accounting for 60 percent of the population. In order to survive, some have to fish farther from shore. Others have left the industry. Wu said excessive coastal development has also degraded China's marine environment. In South China's Hainan province, for example, swarms of tourists and overdevelopment of coastlines have posed a serious risk to the local marine ecosystem. An island the size of Belgium, Hainan has earned a reputation as the perfect holiday destination, which has brought a local economic boom. But researchers say more than 90 percent of the island's east coast has been used for real estate development. This is a concern for people such as Wang Ying, a marine geologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He said at a forum on Sunday that mass construction of tourist facilities, such as hotels and scenic spots along the coast, will lead to increased shoreline erosion. A total of 4,200 meters of beach in the bays and harbors east of Haikou were eroded by seawater between 2009 and last year, Wang said, adding that bedrock was exposed due to erosion along the beach near hotel and villa developments west of the city. Pollution is another serious problem in China's coastal areas. Industrial and agricultural discharges, along with a sharp rise in the amount of household garbage as the island urbanizes, are mostly to blame for the pollution. "It is difficult to find pristine clear waters and white sandy beaches anymore in some seaside areas," a Hainan resident surnamed Luo said. Her sentiment is supported by research. The majority of China's coastal areas have unhealthy ecosystems due to heavy pollution, a report from the State Oceanic Administration said. Of the areas monitored by the administration last summer, 81 percent, or 41,000 square kilometers, were polluted. According to the report, most of the polluted water was concentrated in river estuaries or sea bays. The main pollutants were inorganic nitrogen, reactive phosphate and oil. Along with the rapid development of industry and cities, coastal pollution has caused frequent episodes of red tide, a type of harmful algal bloom, said Lyu Shuguo, a researcher with the Hainan Research Academy of Environmental Sciences. Lyu said 14 bays along Hainan's 1,528-km coastline are at risk of red tide, which may threaten the health of locals and damage the environment. In his message for World Oceans Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that two out of every five people live near a shore, and three out of seven depend on marine and coastal resources to survive. He called on people to use ocean resources peacefully, equitably and sustainably for generations to come. To ease environmental strain, China has adopted measures including massive tree-planting and coral restoration campaigns, clamping down on illegal wastewater discharges, treating polluted rivers and launching public education activities. Experts have called for local governments to enact rules and policies and evaluate the effects of projects near straits or islands before construction to prevent possible damage to the environment. During this year's fishing offseason in Guangxi, which lasts from May until August, fisherman Wu Ruiwei and his colleagues will gather to discuss their future: deep-sea fisheries. "When there are fewer fish in the coastal areas, we have to go farther from shore," he said. But he does not want to take the problems of overfishing and pollution farther out to sea. "I hope with technology and fishery management, most fisheries can be made sustainable to protect our ocean," he said. ^ top ^

75 released from MERS quarantine in S China (Xinhua)
2015-06-12
All 75 people in Guangdong Province, south China, who had been in close contact with a man that had contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been released from quarantine, local health authorities announced Thursday. A man from the Republic of Korea (ROK) tested positive for MERS while in Guangdong on May 29. According to Guangdong Health and Family Planning Commission, the patient is now in a stable condition. He has not had a fever for a few days, but still occasionally coughs and his lungs remain inflamed, doctors said. All 75 people tested negative for MERS twice. Fourty-four people were released from quarantine on Tuesday and the rest were released Wednesday, the commission said. The man, 44, had visited a MERS patient at a ROK hospital and was displaying symptoms as early as May 21. Despite a doctor recommending that he cancel his travel plans, he flew to Hong Kong on May 26, entering Huizhou City via Shenzhen. According to experts from Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, although all 75 people are no longer quarantined, there is still a chance that the disease may spread. Therefore, the public must pay greater attention to their health and cooperate with the authorities. MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The first human case was recorded in Saudi Arabia in 2012. There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a fatality rate of about 40 percent. ^ top ^

China vows "zero tolerance" of food safety crime (Xinhua)
2015-06-12
China is stepping up efforts to guarantee food quality with zero tolerance of food safety crime, according to a national teleconference on food safety on Thursday. Food safety has a direct bearing on the health and safety of all people, and is a basic requirement of a moderately prosperous society, said Premier Li Keqiang in a written instruction. He called for full implementation of the revamped Food Safety Law and pledged "zero tolerance" for food safety crime. A food trace system monitoring the whole process of food production, logistics and sales should be established, Li said. Zhang Gaoli, a vice premier and head of a ministerial food safety committee under the State Council, also called for strict supervision of food manufacturers and distributors in his instruction to the conference. The conference was presided over by Wang Yang, another vice premier, who stressed the importance of a sound risk management system in protecting food safety. Food safety control should be based on the principle of prevention first and timely information disclosure, Wang said. He urged local governments to assume responsibility for food quality and encouraged the whole of society to supervise and guarantee food safety. Wang highlighted the fundamental role of law in protecting consumers' safety and interests, calling for publicity for the revised law to enhance legal awareness among food producers. China's top legislature on April 24 adopted an amendment to the Food Safety Law that gives the heaviest penalties yet to offenders. It will go into effect on Oct. 1.  ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Basic Law brooks no arbitrary changes (Global Times)
2015-06-09
Hong Kong's carefully deliberated Basic Law will stand the test of time and should not be changed arbitrarily, according to Tam Yiu-chung, a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council and drafter of the law. Tam, former chair of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, made the remarks during an interview with Xinhua. Tam was one of the 23 people from Hong Kong, and 36 from the mainland tasked with compiling the law in 1985. He believes problems with the political system in Hong Kong can be solved with the law, as well as issues that have surfaced during social development. Regarding controversy surrounding the universal suffrage package proposed by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government, Tam said there were no major disputes centering this issue when the law was being drafted. The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration ruled that the selection of chief executive should be through consultation or election, and this was finalized in the Basic Law through universal suffrage, Tam said. "It evidenced sizable progress, and was widely accepted," Tam commented. "Although no time-table was given in the Basic Law, we felt excited as we finally got a chance to realize universal suffrage of the chief executive." However, considering the extreme importance of this position, the drafting committee agreed, the chief executive should not be randomly chosen and should be appointed by the central government, Tam said, adding "the appointment has to be in real term, rather than symbolic." Some question the level of restriction on the selection of chief executive and others went further, proposing a citizen nomination. Tam said when the Basic Law was being drafted, no one talked about "citizen nomination". The reason why it is a contested issue now is that some people are intentionally misleading Hong Kong citizens, Tam said. He said the degree of autonomy the SAR can exercise, or what kind of power the central authorities confer to the SAR, are all prescribed in the Basic Law, but a "high degree of autonomy" does not equal "absolute autonomy". The Basic Law was compiled over five years and it has been a concrete basis for ruling Hong Kong since it was returned to China in 1997, Tam averred, underscoring that there was neither need nor justification to change the Basic Law. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Diversified events to be held marking Macao listed as World Heritage site (Xinhua)
2015-06-11
Macao is to organize 35 commemorative activities from June 13 in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the city's historical center being designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ung Vai Meng, President of the Culture Affairs Bureau of Macao announced Wednesday in a press conference. As the culture root and driving force behind Macao's historical development, the historical center of Macao will celebrate its 10th anniversary of its inscription on World Heritage List on July 15. On the occasion, the Culture Affairs Bureau of Macao, combined with Department of Culture of Henan Province will host a series of events, aiming at rousing people's interest as well as raising the awareness for the universal value of Historical Center of Macao, said Ung Vai Meng. The events will include several new historic and cultural facilities in operation, exhibitions, a seminar, and performances and highlighted activities, intending to show the works, achievements and research in safeguarding the culture heritage, so as to enhance public's knowledge and seek support for conservation of culture heritage in Macao, according to organizers. Co-organizer Henan Province will present "Genesis and Spirit", showcase of Hennan's vivid intangible culture heritage element to the public through demonstrations, workshops and lecture. Moreover, the stamps "10th Anniversary of the Historical Center of Macao listed as World Heritage" will be issued by Macao Post on July 15. ^ top ^

 

DPRK
Border-crosser killed (Global Times)
2015-06-12
A person who was suspected of illegally crossing the China-North Korea border was shot dead after resisting arrest, authorities in Jilin Province announced Thursday. The individual was killed at 3:55 am on Thursday in Nanping village, which is under the administration of the border city of Helong in Jilin. The investigation is ongoing. A source told the Global Times that the person was armed and refused to surrender after being ordered to do so by Chinese border troops. A North Korean soldier killed four villagers in Nanping village on December 27, 2014. On September 3, 2014, a family of three in the same village was killed by a hammer-wielding North Korean. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Ts.Elbegdorj to deliver speech at European Parliament (Montsane)
2015-06-08
The leader of Mongolia Mr Ts.Elbegdorj will pay an official working visit to France during which he will deliver a speech at a plenary sittings of the European parliament (EP) to be held June 8-11 in Strasbourg city. Mr Elbegdorj has been invited by Mr Martin Schulz, the EP President, on occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Mongolian democracy. During the speech, expected at 12.00 pm by local time on June 9, the Mongolian President will introduce to the European Union (EU) a present situation of Mongolia's democracy and Mongolian contribution to delivering democracy in its region, and will highlight a key point of taking support from the EU. In addition, he intends to resolve matters such as an intensification of the Mongolia-EU relations and cooperation, opening the EU's Embassy in Ulaan­baatar for example, a putting of the bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement into force in near future, and an elimination of Mongolia from the list of non-market economy countries. Mr Elbegdorj will also meet with Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and with Mr Martin Schulz, the EP President, to share views on the bilateral relations and cooperation. ^ top ^

About Mongolia-EU relations (Montsane)
2015-06-08
The Eu­ropean Union (EU) and its members have been supporting Mongolia's democracy since the diplomatic rela­tions were established on August 1 of 1989, and Mongolia considers the EU as its one of the Third Neighbors. The Ambassador of Mongolia to the EU presented diplomatic credentials in 1990, whereas the head of the EU's Permanent Office in Beijing was ap­pointed the EU Ambassador to Mongolia in 1991, commencing the bilateral coop­eration. As of today, the EU Permanent Representative Office in Beijing repre­sents itself to Mongolia, the Mongolian Embassy works in Brussels. In 2006, the EU Cooperation Office opened in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia and the EU approved an agreement on trade cooperation in 1993, therefore Mongolia has become a country to receive credit from the Eu­ropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Then the EBRD opened its Permanent Representative Office in Mongolia in 2006. In 2010, Mongolia and the EU ini­tialed an Agreement on Partnership Cooperation and signed it April of 2013. This agreement provides the legal framework for expanding EU-Mongolia relations and covers such issues as political dialogue, trade, development assistance, cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development, en­ergy, climate change, research and in­novation, education and culture. In No­vember 2013, the EU President Jose M. Barroso visited Mongolia. It was the first time ever a President of the European Commission has visited the country and was a further milestone in this blossom­ing relationship. In accordance with the 1993 Agree­ment on Trade Cooperation, Mongolia has been given a right to export 7,200 kinds of products to the EU's 27 coun­tries. However, the trade turnover be­tween Mongolia and the EU is still con­siderably lower than the trades made with other countries according to statis­tics. For example, Mongolia exported to EU countries products of EUR 71 mil­lion, and imported from them products of EUR 510 million by end of 2013. The sides hold annual meeting of the Ambassadors and Non-Resident Am­bassador of EU countries to Mongolia since 2009. As of present, Mongolia has established contracts on investment with 17 countries out of 28 members of the EU. ^ top ^

The State Budget Standing Committee held a discussion on draft laws (Infomongolia)
2015-06-11
The State Budget Standing Committee of the State Great Khural (parliament) had session at 2:40 pm on June 9 with 52.6% attendance to discuss three issues. First, the session had first discussion on the draft amendments to law on state special fund of Mongolia. Parliament member Ch.Khurelbaatar, the head of working group in charge of the draft amendments, has made a presentation on preparation of law amendment and some of its functions such as to keep the stabilization fund assets in financial instrument less than the average deposit rate of commercial banks of the current year and financial reports regarding government and fund assets to be included into consolidated financial statement and introduced. The State Budget Standing Committee has decided to submit the draft amendments to the State Great Khural (parliament) for further discussion. Second, the committee had first discussion on draft law on Future Heritage Fund submitted by Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj. After presentation on preparation of draft law of working group, the committee discussed each 70 proposals with members of working group and law initiators. After that, the draft law proposed by President Ts.Elbegdorj will be discussed on plenary session. At the end of session, the committee has discussed the draft law on Ulaanbaatar city tax. It was discussed by the committee before but was rejected for further discussion because of odds in the draft. This time, there were no questions and comments from committee members although there were three more proposals with odds during the discussion. After that, it was decided to be discussed at plenary session. ^ top ^

President Ts.Elbegdorj meets Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (Infomongolia)
2015-06-11
Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj meets Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. At the beginning of the meeting, President Ts.Elbegdorj noted that Mongolia highly values its relations with Europe and Mr. Jean-Claude Junker have played an important role. During the meeting, President Ts.Elbegdorj proposed the export of Mongolian agricultural goods to Europe and apply financial management and methods of European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and further jointly develop projects on renewable energy including "Delegation of Progress" program. Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has accepted the offer. Furthermore, Both presidents have exchanged views on 11th ASEM Summit 2016, will be hosted by Mongolia, and Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker said that European Commission will provide support for organizing the summit, and both sides agreed to increase exchange of students and experts, and improve relations between European and Mongolian people. ^ top ^

The Meeting of National Committee for ASEM (Infomongolia)
2015-06-12
Mongolia has become the member of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 2006. Since then, Mongolia has been actively involved in activities and initiatives of ASEM. In 2016, 11th Summit of ASEM will be held on July at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Mongolian Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg will head the summit. On June 11, the national committee in charge of the summit organization had meeting in Prime Minister's office to discuss security measures and ceremony, and hear the progress of working group led by D.Dolgorjav on customs service. Today's meeting will discuss the establishment of headquarters and rapid reaction staff to ensure safety of summit delegates, increasing security at state border checkpoints and provide nationwide security, and fund for procurement of required technical equipment for the headquarter. After discussion, the result will be introduced to parliament session. Mongolia plans to receive 5,000 guests such as presidents and prime ministers, ministers of foreign affairs, authorities of international organizations and media agencies from 51countries at 11th ASEM Summit 2016. ^ top ^

Mongolia to tighten security against MERS (Infomongolia)
2015-06-12
State Inspector General Sh.Radnaased, Acting Chairman of the General Agency for Specialized Inspection (GASI), has warned inspection services of Mongolian customs service to stay on alert in connection to coronavirus outbreak in South Korea earlier. On June 10, State Inspector General Sh.Radnaased has ordered medical authorities of the capital and aimags to strengthen countermeasures against Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and hold reserve of infectious disease medicines, reagents, test kits, disinfectants and other required medical equipment at all hospitals in the country. Further, medical authorities must provide information on MERS to citizens and conduct training for medical specialists. According to statistics, totally 1,250 cases of coronavirus detected in world countries and 449 of them confirmed dead. In South Korea, where Mongolian citizens actively visit, there were 95 cases of MERS and 7 were confirmed dead. ^ 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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