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
  6-10.7.15, No. 580  
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Foreign Policy

China takes on role in Central Asia once held by Russia (SCMP)
2015-07-06
At a bazaar in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, once a far-flung outpost of the Soviet Union, cheap goods from neighbouring China are helping offset the pain caused by Russia's economic meltdown. As low world prices for Russian energy exports and Western sanctions over Ukraine stir economic trouble in Russia, Tajikistan has seen its national somoni currency weaken and thousands of migrants drift back home to a mostly jobless environment. Last month the country's national bank announced that first-quarter remittances - mostly transfers from Russia where close to half of Tajikistan's working age males are believed to work - had fallen by more than 40 per cent compared with the same time last year. Yet the economic bonds tying the nation of eight million people to China are growing stronger every day. "The trade is good here," says a Chinese salesman at the Korvon bazaar in Dushanbe. "There is always some kind of opportunity," he said. Beijing's economic transformation of the lands west of its restive Xinjiang region has gathered pace in the last decade, overhauling Russia as the main trade partner of four of the five Central Asian countries that gained independence from Moscow in 1991. For Tajikistan, China's belt is a lifeline. Beijing pledged last September to invest at least US$6 billion or the equivalent of 70 per cent of the country's annual gross domestic product over three years. But with Beijing now owning close to half of the country's external debt of more than US$2 billion there is apprehension that a traditional dependency on Russia is being traded for one on China. Beijing's role in Tajikistan has "become even more noticeable" in the last year amid economic blowback from the Russian crisis, says Muzaffar Olimov, director of the Sharq analytical centre in Dushanbe. "Of course, this support is extremely timely but is it all just out of good neighbourliness?" ^ top ^

Chinese in Turkey warned amid anti-China protests (Global Times)
2015-07-06
China warned its citizens in Turkey to be cautious about recent anti-China protests that have "disturbed" some tourists. The notice, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, said that several anti-China demonstrations have recently occurred in Turkey and Chinese citizens should enhance their protection and reduce going out alone. An Istanbul-based restaurant owned by a Chinese businessman from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, was broken into on Sunday by Turkish protesters, but no one at the restaurant was injured, according to Cheng Jianbing, vice president of Turkey's Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Cheng told the Global Times on Sunday that hundreds of Turkish protesters continued to gather outside the Chinese consulate general in Istanbul and some at the Topkapi Palace on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait to demand equality for ethnic groups. "The protesters were instigated by fake pictures and rumors circulating online, claiming that the Chinese government bans fasting during Ramadan," Cheng said. A Turkish-owned Chinese restaurant in Istanbul, whose chef was an ethnic Uyghur, was attacked on Wednesday and had its windows smashed, he said, adding that there was no casualty report so far. The attackers belonged to a notorious far-right group called the Grey Wolves, who are closely affiliated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said AFP. The protest came amid the Turkish government's recent concerns over reports about the ban on fasting and observing other religious duties for Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, adding that it has caused "sadness" among the Turkish people. China on Wednesday denied such accusations at a foreign ministry briefing when ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying pointed out that all people in Xinjiang enjoy the freedom of religious belief accorded to them by the Chinese Constitution, according to Reuters. "Some Turkish people with Pan-Turkism sentiment shares links with the Uyghurs and they would stir up troubles whenever something happened with the ethnic group. This national emotion will be a long-term and difficult gap for the development of Sino-Turkish relations," Li Weijian, an expert with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times. The Turkish government is facing challenges in its domestic and foreign policy, including its setback at its relations with Syria. This all explained its attempt to utilize issues with Xinjiang to detract public attention, said Li, adding that the government's nonfeasance toward the protest may encourage protesters to be more violent. ^ top ^

Clinton speech against China angers Chinese netizens (Global Times)
2015-07-06
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's strongly worded comments against China have further angered Chinese netizens, many of whom have already formed the impression that she is "hostile" toward China. Analysts said that there are increasing fears that if she is elected president, this would further deepen mistrust. Clinton, a former secretary of state who is making another run at the White House in 2016, accused China on Saturday of "trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America" and stealing government information. "Make no mistake, they know they're in competition - and they're gonna do everything they can to win," she told Democratic supporters at a campaign event in New Hampshire. Clinton's speech on Sunday angered Chinese netizens, many of whom commented that her election would "send Sino-US relations to a new low point." Some Net users accused her of stirring up trouble. Analysts believe Clinton's accusations against China, her most strongly worded since her declaration to run for US president, reflect her lack of confidence in her presidential campaign. "It is indiscreet of Hillary to make a speech like that. As a former chief diplomat, she should be professional and prudent enough to refrain from making such comments about other countries," said Jin Canrong, vice director of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China. "Hillary doesn't have much of a lead in Iowa, so she needs some dramatic comments to attract public attention. Her China comments show that she is not as confident as she appears to be," said Jin, adding that it has almost become "common practice" for US politicians to attack China in an election year to win votes. The US has in recent years blamed several cyber hacks on Beijing. In the most recent case, several US officials accused China of being the "lead suspect" in a massive breach affecting the personal data of millions of US government employees, an accusation the White House has been reluctant to pin on Beijing. China has repeatedly denied the charges and dismissed them as "absurd logic." Clinton also criticized Beijing's South China Sea policy. "I want to see a peaceful rise for China," Clinton said. "I worked very hard on that as secretary of state, I will continue to do so. But we also have to be fully vigilant that China's military is growing very quickly and they are establishing military installations that again threaten countries we have treaties with, like the Philippines, because they are building on contested property." "Hillary's speech shows her two-faced attitude toward China," Ni Feng, vice director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "As a politician, she has to be tough on China to show she has the ability to protect US interests. And as a former secretary of state, she knows the necessity of maintaining good relationships with China." Shi Yinhong, director of the Renmin University Center on American Studies, said Clinton's comments regarding welcoming a peaceful rise for China "cannot be trusted" given her long history of harshness toward China. Clinton has in the past publicly criticized Beijing's human rights record as being "deplorable" and called China's detention of five Chinese feminist activists "inexcusable" on Twitter. Her comments were seen by some as meddling in China's domestic affairs. "If Hillary takes office, she may implement a tougher policy toward China than Obama, but to what degree remains uncertain," said Ni. During her speech, Clinton also said that engagement was the best option when it comes to confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We have to be much smarter in how we deal with Putin and how we deal with his ambitions," she said. "I've dealt with him. I know him. He's not an easy man." ^ top ^

French businessmen applaud visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to France (Xinhua)
2015-07-06
The official visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to France created a climate that is favorable to the relationship and cooperation between the two countries, said some chieftains of enterprises in France. The visit of Chinese Premier "corresponds to the desire to strengthen the cultural, political, economic relations between the two countries," said Pierre Clement, president of the architecture firm Arte-Charpentier. "First of all, there is a climate that is favorable for the cooperation between the two countries, which is very important. However, it is not enough, because if companies do not follow up, and if our outcomes do not meet the needs of the Chinese, it is useless to have a very good relationship," he stressed. For Marc Hamy, vice president of Airbus, China is a very important economic partner of France. "There are many exchanges between the two countries," he said, referring to the recent high-profile officials' visits between France and China. "The visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang strengthened this strategic partnership in which aeronautics plays an important role," Hamy affirmed. "For the past ten years, Airbus has chosen to develop a very strong partnership with China. We have an assembly line in Tianjin which helped deliver successfully 220 A320 aircraft," the vice president of Airbus said. "For us, China is now the the laboratory of the world on environmental, urban and architectural matters, so (we) must work with the Chinese and be present in China," he stressed. The CEO of Safo Group, Francois Huygues Despointes, who is working with a Chinese company in food distribution, believed that through the exchanges that China and France are developing, both countries would create more jobs. ^ top ^

China urges Japan to face up to history (Xinhua)
2015-07-06
China urged Japan to face up to its history and take measures to uphold dignity of forced labor victims after UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe Japan's controversial "Meiji Industrial Revolution Sites" into the World Heritage List here on Sunday. Japan was forced to admit in a statement during the meeting that "there were a large number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions in 1940s at some of the sites, and, during the World War II, the Government of Japan also implemented its policy of requisition." Japan pledged to "sincerely respond" to recommendations from the ICOMOS, the World Heritage Committee's advisory body, to develop "interpretive strategy" that allows "an understanding of the full history of each site", and to take "appropriate measures" to remember victims such as establishing information centers. Zhang Xiuqin, Chinese Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said she had noticed that Japan acknowledged the forced labor history which was ignored in its nomination documents of the heritage sites. "However, there still lacks an adequate account from Japan of the whole facts surrounding the use of forced labor," she said, adding that it's outrageous that there are still voices in Japan attempting to deny the fact of forced labor. "I urged Japan to face up to the history, and to take concrete measures to allow an understanding of the full history of each site...and to make sure that the sufferings of each and every one of the forced labor are remembered, and their dignity upheld," she added. ^ top ^

China urges Nepal to play constructive role in trilateral cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-07-07
Nepal should play a constructive role in the trilateral cooperation among China, India and Nepal, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai said here on Sunday. The ambassador said during an event that Nepal is very important for the three-party diplomatic relations. "It's time for Nepal to find the areas of cooperation, models of cooperation and especially projects of cooperation." Recalling Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction on June 25 in Kathmandu, Wu said an economic corridor among the three nations may create more opportunities, revenues and benefits. "Reconstruction is an opportunity of social and economic development for the Himalayan nation in which Chinese initiatives like AIIB and Belt and Road can be significant," said the Chinese envoy. ^ top ^

Xi, Putin to discuss Islamic State in Afghanistan at Eurasian security summit (SCMP)
2015-07-07
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders will discuss the threat posed by the Islamic State group poses in Afghanistan at a Eurasian security summit in Russia this week, a Chinese official said on Monday. Xi will travel to the Russian city of Ufa for a summit on Thursday and Friday of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It will be preceded by a meeting of leaders of the BRICS group of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. “Due to the spillover effect of the Islamic State terrorist activities, Afghanistan now faces a grim security situation,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told reporters in Beijing. SCO leaders “will certainly have in-depth discussions on the Afghan issue”, he added. “And they will talk further about how to respond to the security situation there.” China is seeking business interests in Afghanistan and is sensitive to any spillover of Islamic-inspired extremism from the country, which has a narrow border with its mostly Muslim western region of Xinjiang. Afghanistan's militant Taliban are seeking to halt defections to Islamic State after some insurgents adopted its flag to rebrand themselves as a more lethal force as NATO troops depart the country. Last month the Taliban warned the leader of Islamic State against waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan, after reported clashes between militants loyal to the two groups. Afghanistan has “observer” status in the SCO, along with India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, according to the group's website. Cheng also said that China remained on guard against the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) it says foments unrest in Xinjiang among the region's ethnic Uygurs, though many analysts outside China have questioned whether any large-scale organisation of the kind exists. “It has participated in some terrorist activities of Islamic State,” Cheng said of ETIM. “China is concerned about that and we will also maintain security cooperation with relevant countries.” Besides the group summits, Xi will hold bilateral talks with Putin in their eighth such meeting since Xi became president in 2013. Xi visited Russia in May to witness a vast military parade at Red Square to commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. “The Chinese and Russian leaders have established a very good working relationship and personal friendship,” Cheng said, adding: “As permanent members of the (UN) Security Council, a sound relationship between these two countries plays an important role in promoting world peace”. He said they will discuss bilateral relations, including economic cooperation and “specific cooperation projects”, without elaborating. Russia – which invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and occupied it for a decade – has strengthened ties and trade with China since coming under Western sanctions for its actions in Ukraine. Russia became China's top crude oil supplier in May for the first time in a decade, Bloomberg News reported last month, as Moscow seeks new markets for its oil. ^ top ^

Beijing downplays Hillary Clinton's hacking claims (SCMP)
2015-07-07
Beijing on Monday downplayed an accusation by US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that Beijing had tried to "hack into everything that doesn't move in America". At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Saturday, Clinton said the United States must be "fully vigilant" about China's military, adding that Beijing had stolen commercial secrets from defence contractors as well as "huge amounts of government information". Beijing has in the past expressed outrage over US government claims that it engages in state-sponsored hacking of commercial information, saying China is itself a victim of hacking attacks. Asked about Clinton's remarks, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the two sides had a "constructive spirit" in tackling the issue. "China and the US have taken a constructive spirit and approach to strengthening dialogue and cooperation to jointly face various challenges in line with the interests of both sides in a way that is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region and the world," Hua said. Clinton is the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for the November 2016 presidential election. She said she wanted to see China's peaceful rise. But she added: "They're also trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America. Stealing commercial secrets from defence contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information, looking for an advantage. Make no mistake, they know they're in competition - and they're going to do everything they can to win." In the most recent case involving suspicions of Chinese hacking, Obama administration officials have said China is the top suspect in the hacking of a US government agency that compromised the personnel records of at least 4.2 million current and former government workers. China has denied hacking into the computers of the US Office of Personnel Management. James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, said last month that China was the "leading suspect" in the massive hack. Cybersecurity specialists say the breach appeared to be part of a Chinese effort to build a database for espionage. ^ top ^

Acceptance of India, Pakistan into SCO on Ufa summit agenda (Xinhua)
2015-07-07
The upcoming Ufa summit of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will make a political decision on India's and Pakistan's accession to the SCO, Vice Chinese Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on Monday. Cheng made the remarks at a news briefing on President Xi Jinping's attendance at the seventh BRICS summit, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, and the 15th meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of State for Thursday and Friday in Ufa, capital of Russia's Bashkortostan Republic. The decision on starting procedures for India and Pakistan to join the SCO is scheduled to be adopted at the Ufa summit, which signifies the official start of the SCO expansion and the launch of the legal process of the countries' induction into the SCO, Cheng said. "As the influence of the SCO's development has expanded, more and more countries in the region have brought up joining the SCO," Cheng said. "India and Pakistan's admission to the SCO will play an important role in the SCO's development. It will play a constructive role in pushing for the improvement of their bilateral relations," Cheng said. The SCO, founded in 2001, currently has six member states -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, with Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers. ^ top ^

China urges efforts to boost China-Russia economic, trade cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-07-07
Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang on Monday asked for efforts to boost China-Russia economic and trade cooperation. Wang made the appeal at a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in the southern Siberian city of Irkutsk. Wang said the two sides should work together to optimize the bilateral trade structure. Building on trade in energy and resources sectors, the two countries should explore new areas such as civil aviation materials, space technology and nuclear energy equipment, said Wang. He asked to further improve trade facilitation in order to create favorable conditions for bilateral trade, to find ways of reducing costs by innovating trade models and encouraging cross-border e-commerce. Wang also asked to enhance cooperation in finance. The two countries should expand trade settlement in their own currencies and the currency swap scheme, and strengthen financial and insurance support for trade with an aim to boost trade with investment, he said. For his part, Rogozin noted that Russia always takes the comprehensive strategic partnership with China as a diplomatic priority. Russia is willing to work with China to optimize the trade structure, expand cross-border logistic channels, enhance financial cooperation, boost mutual investment, strengthen cooperation in high-technology, aviation, space and nuclear energy, Rogozin said. Wang is visiting Russia in his capacity as chief on the Chinese side of the Joint Commission for the Regular Prime Ministers' Meetings of China and Russia. Wang said the main task of his meeting with Rogozin is to implement the important consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during Xi's visit to Moscow in May, make preparations for Xi-Putin meetings at an upcoming BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia, and in Beijing in September, and make preparations for the 20th regular meeting of Russian and Chinese heads of government at the end of this year. ^ top ^

FM calls for Japan to 'gain trust' on UNESCO sites (Global Times)
2015-07-07
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday called on Japan to take concrete steps to gain trust from its Asian neighbors following UNESCO's decision to give the country's Meiji industrial sites World Heritage status. UNESCO on Sunday conferred World Heritage status to 23 facilities at 11 different locations in Japan representative of the country's industrial revolution under Emperor Meiji (1868-1910). Tokyo's bid, which involves a steelworks, a shipbuilding yard and a coal mine, had caused controversy as seven of the sites were once used as centers of deportation and forced labor during Japan's occupation of China and South Korea. The decision reached at a meeting in Germany came after Japan's concession to Seoul on forced labor. Japanese representative Kuni Sato acknowledged at the Sunday meeting that Koreans "were brought against their will and were forced to work under severe conditions" at some of the Japanese industrial sites during the 1940s, reported the Japan Times. Sato also said Japan is prepared to take steps to remember the victims, including setting up an information center. The Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing that the Chinese authorities are aware of the decision. As for Japan's pledge, Hua urged Japan to use actions to gain the trust of its neighboring Asian countries and the world community. Despite Japan's claims, analysts remain skeptical of the Japanese government's stance on history. "The acknowledgement is in fact a compromise the Japanese government made to South Korea. This does not mean that there is a fundamental change in Japan's stance toward all of its wartime history," Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times. Hundreds of Chinese were forced to work during World War II in some of the UNESCO-listed sites, which include a coal mine in Nagasaki. The Xinhua News Agency earlier slammed the bid as "whitewashing" Tokyo's militaristic past. "The real issue is not whether those sites are listed or not, but about Japan's attitude on its wartime past and whether it would use [the World Heritage status] to honor its previous aggression," Liu noted, adding that the stance on history is an important aspect of Sino-Japanese relations. Some of the facilities, such as the Yahata steelworks and the Nagasaki shipbuilding yard, are still partly in operation. ^ top ^

Chinese President leaves for BRICS, SCO summit (Xinhua)
2015-07-08
Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Wednesday to attend the 7th BRICS summit and 15th SCO summit in Ufa of Russia. Xi will attend the 7th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit on July 8-9 and the 15th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on July 9-10 in Ufa at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi's entourage includes Wang Huning, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee; Li Zhanshu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Zhou Xiaochuan, central bank governor and vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCCSCO). ^ top ^

Issues still remain to be resolved in final nuclear talks (Xinhua)
2015-07-08
Sides are working hard to resolve the remaining six or seven remaining issues in the final Iranian nuclear talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday told reporters in Vienna. After holding meetings with foreign ministers of western countries and Iran, Wang is leaving Vienna but supposed to be back to the city for the final push of the comprehensive Iranian nuclear deal. "All sides realize that this is the last negotiations," Wang said. "There are still around six or seven (remaining) issues," the Chinese Foreign Minister added. Wang's remarks was echoed by the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who hinted the talks would not be extended to another round, saying the deadline of the talks could be treated in a flexible way to give the negotiators more time to finalize the deal. "The time is now, it's a window that we are using at the maximum, but we are not closing the window and then opening another window at another time we are using the time now,"she said. The most recent round of Iranian nuclear talks has missed its July 7 deadline, a week-long postponement of the original deadline, due to some tough unresolved issues, while the U.S said the new deadline could be extended till July 10. "To allow for the additional time to negotiate, we are taking the necessary technical steps for the measures of the Joint Point of Action (the 2013 interim deal) to remain in place through July 10," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany have been negotiating over the past 16 moths to reach a long-term deal over Tehran's controversial atomic plan. During the period, Iran would suspend some sensitive nuclear activates, in return, Western nations would partially relief some sanction imposed on Tehran. ^ top ^

China holds exhibition on anti-Japanese invasion war victory (Xinhua)
2015-07-08
An exhibition opened here Tuesday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, spoke at the opening ceremony. He said while documenting the historical event and remembering the fallen, the event was also a celebration of peace. A total of 1,170 pictures and 2,834 artifacts are on show at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression near Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge. Japan invaded northeast China in September 1931. However, historians agree that Japan's full-scale invasion began on July 7, 1937, when the bridge, a crucial access point to Beijing, was attacked by the Japanese. The exhibition, "Great Victory, Historic Contribution", is also part of events in the run up to the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-Fascist war, which will culminate in a parade on Sept. 3 in Beijing. Liu said the exhibition showcased brave resistance in the face of invasion and the CPC's role as a corner stone in that endeavor. Tremendous sacrifices were made by the Chinese people and the exhibition serves as a reminder that China was the major oriental battlefield in WWII, Liu said. He said the exhibition would be a great resource for education on patriotism and the revolutionary tradition. Liu urged all citizens to strive to achieve the Chinese Dream of great renewal of the Chinese nation, and promote peace and development. About 1,500 people, including representatives of veterans and relatives of the fallen, attended the ceremony. ^ top ^

Mexico auto sector frets over China steel (SCMP)
2015-07-08
Mexico's auto sector said on Monday it is worried about recent lobbying by local steel producers to restrict steel imports from China and other countries. Mexican Auto Industry Association (AMIA) President Eduardo Solis told a news conference the auto industry was "enormously concerned" about the issue even as auto output rose 6.7 per cent in June to 306,694 units versus the same month last year. In June, Mexico imposed tariffs on cold-rolled steel from China, and hot-rolled steel from China, Germany, and France after an anti-dumping investigation. Solis said that the auto sector has not been affected by the new duties, but he remains attentive to any proposals that could impact the industry's competitiveness. Steel imports are a "fundamental component" of vehicles and auto parts, Solis said. Mexico's auto exports, meanwhile, rose 5.3 per cent to 242,720 units, AMIA said. Car exports to the United States, where nearly three-quarters of Mexico's cars head, rose 10.3 per cent in June compared to the same month last year, and US sales were the main driver of the overall rise in exports. Car exports to Europe increased 23.3 per cent in the month, however. The auto sector accounts for about 30 per cent of Mexico's exports, according to the national statistics institute. Mexico's steel chamber, Canacero, said in a statement that it was not looking to affect any other industrial sector. "(Canacero) demands that dumping be stopped decisively, due to the speed with which it has grown in recent months," the statement said. Last month, steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico said it would lay off thousands of workers and cut production because of a steep drop in prices this year. It said the government had been slow to address the increasing number of steel imports at dumping prices. ^ top ^

Manila heightens South China Sea tension in The Hague (Global Times)
2015-07-08
South China Sea sovereignty disputes will only become more complicated and not resolved following Manila's appeal to the arbitration tribunal in The Hague, analysts said. They also criticized Manila for hyping up the issue in front of the international community and dangerously making excuses for non-claimant countries, such as the US, to participate in South China Sea disputes. "China will neither accept nor participate in the arbitral proceeding unilaterally initiated by the Philippines," Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, told a regular press briefing on Tuesday, adding that China has expounded this position on many previous occasions. In 2013, the Philippines filed an arbitration case at The Hague questioning the maritime boundaries claimed by China. The hearing is scheduled between Tuesday and July 13. During the first round of talks at The Hague, the arbitration tribunal will decide whether it has jurisdiction over the case. Hua said the Philippines' moves are in breach of the agreement that has been repeatedly reaffirmed with China as well as the Philippines' undertakings in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. "The essence of the subject matter of the arbitration is the territorial sovereignty over several maritime features in the South China Sea, which is beyond the scope of the Convention and does not concern the interpretation or application of the Convention," read a position paper China released in December 2014. The Straits Times reported Tuesday that a high-profile team from Manila was led by Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario. The team will be assisted by Paul Reichler of the Washington-based law firm Foley and Hoag. Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, estimated that it may take the tribunal one month to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the case after the hearing ends on July 13. Liu Feng, an expert on South China Sea studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Philippines voluntarily gave up on negotiations with China in order to pose as a victim of a greater power and seek sympathy. "If the court decides it has jurisdiction, other countries that have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea like Vietnam may follow suit," Liu said. He noted that the Philippines' move could enable non-claimant countries, such as the US, to strengthen their presence in the waters and encourage Japan to settle disputes over the East China Sea with China in a similar way. Experts also believe that Manila is attempting to pressure China by hyping up the dispute at the international tribunal. "Manila seemingly rushed to make a decision for the Netherlands-based judges when the hearing has yet to conclude," Wu said, adding that its ambition can be simply understood from its large delegation. The Philippines plans to ramp up military spending over the next 13 years, earmarking more than $20 billion to modernize its forces, a top air force official told Reuters. Major-General Raul del Rosario, military chief of plans, said the blueprint includes installing radars and sensors, and buying submarines, frigates, fighters, surveillance planes and missile systems. He said the plan was initiated in 2013, but top brass had only approved overall spending of $22.11 billion last week. China, on the other hand, has not given up efforts to resolve the issues through diplomatic channels. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, said in Manila that China has renewed its offer to resolve the conflict through one-on-one negotiations with the Philippines. "Our door for bilateral consultations and negotiations is still open and will be open forever," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying on Monday. Experts also believe that Manila is shifting the focus to fishing to circumvent territorial disputes. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court told Philippine media Rappler that "If we lose 80 percent of our exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, that means we lose 80 percent of the fish we catch annually in the South China Sea." Manila simply used fishing rights to deflect the tribunal from thinking about the jurisdiction over the issue, Wang Xiaopeng, a maritime border expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "However, the Philippines can by no means evade the territorial disputes, as contending for the fishing rights is a territorial dispute over the fishing grounds in essence," Wu noted. ^ top ^

Judicial services to be offered along 'One Belt, One Road' initiative (Global Times)
2015-07-08
The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave advice on offering judicial service to help implement "One Belt, One Road" initiatives including strengthening cooperation with the countries involved to crack down on terrorism and transnational crimes. "Local people's courts at different levels should play their role in dealing with criminal trials and strengthen cooperation with the courts of the countries along 'One Belt, One Road' to severely crack down on terrorism, ethnic separatism, religious extremism and transnational crimes," the Supreme Court said in a statement released on Tuesday. The "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which was first put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping and launched at the end of 2013, focuses on connecting countries along the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt," including Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and countries along the ocean-going "Maritime Silk Road," including countries like India and Singapore. The Supreme Court also asked local courts to deepen judicial reforms to help foreigners to attend trials. Since there is no specific regulation on giving permission to foreigners to attend a court trial in China, few of them were allowed to do so and protecting their rights will ensure the openness and fairness of our judicial system, said Luo Dongchuan, a chief judge with the Supreme Court, in Tuesday's conference in Beijing. The Supreme Court also urged local courts at all levels to improve bilateral and multilateral agreements with the countries in the "One Belt, One Road" for recognition and enforcement of judicial judgments. China could offer judicial assistance to foreigners whose country does not have an agreement with China to create a beneficial relationship before they further expand judicial cooperation. ^ top ^

Chinese president urges BRICS to ramp up plans for bank (SCMP)
2015-07-09
President Xi Jinping called on leaders of emerging markets to expedite plans for a BRICS development bank as he landed in the Russian city of Ufa on Wednesday. As the stock market continued to roil at home, Xi headed to Ufa for a two-day BRICS summit, which will be followed by two days of talks between leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a security bloc dominated by Moscow and Beijing but which also includes Central Asian nations. Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei are also in Xi's delegation. In talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin last night, Xi said economic cooperation in the five-member BRICS bloc, which also includes Brazil, South Africa and India, should be stepped up. "The setting up of the BRICS development bank and currency reserves should be expedited," Xi was quoted by state-run Xinhua as saying, adding that the emerging markets should work together to protect the interests of developing nations. He said China and Russia would continue to work closely to keep the postwar international order, Phoenix TV reported. Xi also said he was looking forward to meet Putin again in September for China's military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war. Putin said Russia faced international and economic difficulties, "but they can be overcome by joining forces with China". A Brazilian official involved in preparations for the BRICS meeting said leaders were set to launch the bloc's bank at the summit. With an initial capitalisation of US$50 billion, the bank is expected to rival Western-led lenders as an option for developing countries. BRICS leaders agreed on the bank's structure a year ago, granting China its headquarters and India its first rotating presidency. It is expected to start lending by next year. The foreign ministry said the leaders would also discuss reform of the International Monetary Fund and involvement in China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative. At the SCO summit later in the week, members will authorise its secretariat to start dialogue with Pakistan and India on their applications for full membership. The state leaders of the six full members - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - are expected to sign an agreement to step up control of border regions. Xi might use the summit to officially invite Central Asian leaders to the September parade, said Li Lifan, from the Centre for SCO Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Li said there were still obstacles to admitting Pakistan and India and the accession was not likely to be finalised until the 15th anniversary of the SCO next year. "The Central Asian members are concerned that they would be encircled by the region's nuclear powers if India and Pakistan … joined the bloc," he said. Li said another item on the agenda would be concerns in Central Asia over China's economy after the 30 per cent tumble in its benchmark stock index from its mid-June peak. "It does worry the members that Beijing will have to focus more on its domestic market," he said. ^ top ^

Ties between China and Russia warm even as trade cools (SCMP)
2015-07-09
The warmth of the friendship between President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin - who met yesterday for the eighth time in two years - does little to counter the bitter economic winds blowing through their shared border. In Heihe, Heilongjiang province, neon-lit high-rises line the Heilong (Amur) River banks facing Siberia's Blagoveshchensk, powered by electricity from hydroelectric plants over the border. Cyrillic signs greet shoppers, but traders say Russia's recession has hit businesses. China has emerged as Russia's largest trading partner as Moscow turns east, seeking markets in Asia in the face of Western sanctions over Ukraine and low energy prices. Beijing sealed a landmark US$400 billion gas supply deal with Moscow last year, and in May, Russia became China's biggest source of crude oil for the first time in a decade. Work started last week on the Chinese section of a 4,000km gas pipeline from Siberia to Shanghai via Heihe. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the project only became possible "due to an extremely high level of truly strategic cooperation between Russia and China". In the 1960s, the Chinese and Russian militaries exchanged fire across the Heilong River as tensions between the two states peaked. Now Russians can travel to Heihe visa-free in search of bargains, and shoppers cross the river by boat, or on foot when it freezes over in winter. The 30,000 square metre Free Trade City mall, on an island on the river, sells everything from computers to belts. "If you do not speak Russian, no one will buy your furs," Wang Jianxin enunciated in perfect Slavic tones, in front of racks of Chinese-made mink coats. A taxi driver surnamed Cui added: "For making money, trade with Russia is the main thing." But over the weekend, just a trickle of Russian visitors passed through Heihe's border post, while the mall saw just a handful of Russian shoppers. Russia's economy shrunk 2.2 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, and the rouble's value has almost halved against the yuan in 12 months. "Today, 1,000 roubles (HK$135) will buy you nothing," Wang said. Xi was guest of honour at a Moscow military parade in May to celebrate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. The same month, the Chinese and Russian navies held live-fire drills in the Mediterranean Sea. The latest meeting between the two leaders comes as the Russian president hosts multiple summits in Ufa. "Since Putin came to power, China and Russia have been getting closer. But the Ukraine crisis has pushed forward the relationship at a more rapid rate," said Yang Cheng, deputy director of the East China Normal University's Centre for Russian Studies. The authoritarian leaders are said to share similar views on human rights and distrust of the United States. "China-Russia relations are the best they have been for a long time," said Ji Zhiye, vice-president of the Institute of Contemporary International Relations. "Russia and China have a lot in common when it comes to views on global politics." But Russia was only China's ninth-biggest trade partner last year, and analysts say its comparatively weak economic performance makes Moscow wary. "There is a concern in the large part of the Russian elite about being a junior partner," said Alexander Gabuev of Moscow's Carnegie Centre. Official Chinese figures show that trade between the two rose 6.8 per cent last year from 2014 to reach a record US$95 billion. They are targeting US$100 billion this year. Nonetheless, Gabuev said: "It's pretty clear right now that the trade goal won't be reached because of falling energy prices." Some traders in Heihe have switched to selling Russian commodities to Chinese buyers who now find them more affordable. One of Heihe's most popular Russian restaurants, the Amur, was empty on Friday evening. When a waitress at another establishment that serves borscht and other Russian favourites was asked about business, she raised both hands and mimed a torrent of tears pouring down her face. ^ top ^

Xi urges China, Russia to maintain high-level coordination within SCO (Xinhua)
2015-07-09
China and Russia should continue to maintain their high-level strategic coordination within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Wednesday. Xi made the remarks during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The two countries, Xi said, should jointly direct relevant mechanisms to deepen cooperation, take effective measures in tackling such challenges as terrorism and drug trafficking and maintain regional security, so as to enable the SCO to play a bigger role in safeguarding the common interests of all countries in the region. Xi suggested the two sides take the SCO as an important platform to dovetail China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Russia's aspiration under the Eurasian Economic Union framework, expand room for their practical cooperation and facilitate development, cooperation and prosperity of the whole Eurasian continent. Xi recalled his last meeting with Putin in May when the two heads of state jointly attended the celebrations in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War and called for global efforts to safeguard the results of the WWII victory and international justice. He added that back then they agreed to connect China's construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt with the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, prioritizing cooperation in such areas as investment, finance, energy, aviation, space, construction of high-speed railways and other infrastructure, and the development of Russia's Far East region. Now, Xi noted, the host of important consensuses he and Putin reached are being carried out by relevant departments of the two governments, and tangible results have already been achieved in some new cooperation fields. Noting that China and Russia enjoy strong complementarity in economic structure, assorted cooperation areas and enormous markets, Xi called upon the two sides to deepen their economic and trade cooperation, continue to vigorously improve trade structure, explore new sources of growth, speed up the implementation of strategic cooperation projects and build high-quality platforms for their cooperation. The two neighbors should strengthen people-to-people exchanges and cooperation, and earnestly prepare the China-Russia Year of Media Exchanges program, so as to boost mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between their media setups, Xi said. China attaches great importance to the upcoming seventh BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, Xi stressed. He urged all parties to cement cooperation with stronger confidence and jointly work for a closer, more comprehensive, and firmer partnership among BRICS countries. China endorses the positive signals sent by the BRICS nations to the world that they will safeguard the results of the WWII victory, promote world peace and security and push forward the democratization of international relations, as well as their important role in improving global governance and reinforcing multilateralism. The BRICS countries, Xi said, should beef up economic cooperation, step up the establishment of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and jointly forge a community of common interests. Xi also suggested the BRICS nations maintain close coordination on major issues concerning global governance, including the post-2015 development agenda, climate change talks, the International Monetary Fund reform, counter-terrorism and cyber security, in a bid to safeguard the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries. Putin, for his part, said he was delighted to receive Xi in Ufa only two months after their last meeting in Moscow. The comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Russia and China has been going through in-depth development, featuring closer exchanges in all sectors and positive cooperation in international affairs, Putin said. The economic and trade ties between Russia and China have become increasingly important, said Putin, noting China has become Russia's largest trading partner and the two sides have made further progress in cooperation in financial sectors. Stressing that Russia has been actively involved in the preparatory work of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Putin said the two countries have witnessed steady progress in their cooperation in infrastructure, energy, space, new and high technology, and other areas. The decision to align China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Russia's aspiration under the Eurasian Economic Union framework will surely instill strong momentum into bilateral economic cooperation, said Putin. People-to-people exchanges between Russia and China help promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, the Russian leader said, while echoing Xi's call to make good preparation for the Year of Media Exchanges program. Putin proposed that Russia and China beef up coordination within the SCO and BRICS frameworks, so as to jointly enable the two blocs to promote unity and cooperation among the member states and play a key role in issues of their common concern. Speaking at a press briefing in Ufa, Gui Congyou, deputy director-general of the Department of European-Central Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Xi and Putin exchanged their views on global and regional issues of common concern. The two leaders, Gui added, agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields and keep the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between their countries running at a high level. Xi arrived in Ufa, capital of Russia's Bashkortostan Republic, earlier Wednesday to attend the seventh BRICS summit and the 15th meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council. ^ top ^

SCO can play major role in Silk Road, Xi says in Russia (China Daily)
2015-07-09
President Xi Jinping confirmed on Wednesday an invitation for Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit China in September and attend the country's activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. He also said the two countries should use the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a key platform to integrate China's Silk Road initiatives and Russia's aspirations under the Eurasian Economic Union framework. Xi made the remarks in Ufa, capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Russia, during a meeting with Putin shortly after he arrived for two key annual summits involving groups in which China and Russia are major players. The summits of the BRICS group of emerging economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-and the SCO, which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are scheduled to last until Friday. Later on Wednesday, Xi met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of an expected decision to admit India and Pakistan as member states of the SCO during the summit. Putin, speaking during his second meeting with Xi in the past two months, said Russia is fully aware of the economic and diplomatic difficulties it is dealing with, and believes the problems can be resolved by working with China. The two summits come amid strained ties between Russia and the West over Ukraine and just weeks after the European Union extended the sanctions it imposed on Russia a year ago. Li Xing, director of the Center of Eurasia Studies at Beijing Normal University, said Moscow is optimistic about its dealings with countries in Asia, especially China, as its diplomatic standoff with the West and the sanctions have undermined Russia's growth. ^ top ^

China says it has few investments in Greece, impact of default 'not significant' (SCMP)
2015-07-09
Greece's debt default will not have a huge impact on China as the country has only limited investments in Greece, state media cited the Ministry of Commerce as saying yesterday. Euro-zone members have given Greece until the end of the week to propose sweeping reforms in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of Europe's currency bloc and into economic ruin. Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said China had invested US$1.3 billion in Greece, concentrated in shipping and telecoms, a figure that was "not significant", the official China Daily reported. Greek companies had invested only US$96 million in China, and they made no new Chinese investments this year, the newspaper said. "As China's outbound direct investment in the markets of the European Union continues to significantly grow, China is hoping the economic situation in Greece can be resolved and improved," Shen said. Last week, Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund. China sees Greece as a portal into both Europe and Africa for the distribution of Chinese products. The European Union is China's largest trading partner and China is the EU's second-largest trading partner. Chinese ambassador to Greece, Zou Xiaoli, said in a speech posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website that China was still paying great attention to the crisis. "Just as Greece needs the EU and China, China needs Greece, and China-EU relations need Greece," Zou said. China has repeatedly said it wants to see a united EU and a strong euro, with Greece as part of it. Premier Li Keqiang said during a visit to Brussels last month that China did not want to see Greece leave the euro zone and that the country would continue to buy euro-zone debt. In February, Li urged Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to ensure protection of the rights of China's companies and backing for a port project. China's Cosco manages two of the Piraeus port's cargo piers. Under a privatisation scheme last year, it had been shortlisted, along with four other suitors, as a potential buyer of a stake of 67 per cent in the port. ^ top ^

China, Laos pledge closer military ties (Global Times)
2015-07-09
China and Laos pledged closer military ties, as senior Chinese military officials met with visiting Lao Defense Minister Sengnuan Saiyalath on Wednesday in Beijing. With long-standing solidarity and friendship between the two countries and militaries and their fruitful cooperation in various fields, China and Laos are good neighbors, friends, comrades and partners, said Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xu called on the two sides to step up all-round cooperation, sustain sound development momentum and prepare for the next stage. Sengnuan agreed that the two militaries have been supporters of each other for a long time and enjoy a profound friendship. "Laos is willing to learn from China's experiences in army building and further strengthen bilateral friendship and military relations," Sengnuan said. Sengnuan also held talks with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan later of the day and expressed gratefulness for the military assistance from China. Chang noted that it is the common aspiration and responsibility of both two sides to consolidate and deepen their traditional friendship, which was jointly nurtured by the two countries' founding fathers. China is willing to make joint efforts with Laos to boost high-level military exchanges, advance practical cooperation, strengthen border defense exchanges, and deepen multilateral security cooperation, to constantly push bilateral military ties to a higher level, Chang said. ^ top ^

China's sweeping national security law sparks uncertainty for foreign firms (SCMP)
2015-07-10
The mainland's sweeping national security law and a series of related laws in the making have created legal uncertainty for foreign companies and new hurdles for their investment, said Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China. The European Union delegation to China sought clarification over the definition of national security and suggested specific changes in five pages of feedback on the draft of the new national security legislation during its public consultation. "But none of [the changes] has been taken up," Clauss said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. His remarks came after the National People's Congress passed a sweeping and controversial national security law on July 1 that defined any threat to the state's power, sovereignty, or the sustainable growth of the economy as a threat to national security. The new law said that China would introduce a vetting scheme to scrutinise any foreign investment that posed a risk to national security. Beijing is also deliberating at least three other related, but more detailed, laws on foreign investment, cyber security, and foreign NGOs. Foreign companies feared the laws might be used to keep certain overseas competitors to Chinese companies out of the market because the definition of national security was so broad and vague that any business activity could be subject to it, Clauss said. "In China the notion of national security [covers] a very wide range - from culture, technology, food safety up to religion. You can hardly find a field that is not relevant to national security concerns." Foreign countries including Germany also have a national security law. But in Germany the definitions were very limited and legally clear, and foreign companies could take the government to court in case they felt discriminated against, he said. The embassy has not heard from companies about plans to scale down their investment due to the laws. "But many investors are aware of the risks," Clauss said. "The security laws and the way they are implemented will have an influence on investment decisions." The revision of the foreign investment law, to be introduced by the Ministry of Commerce, was a particular source of concern for foreign companies, he said. The draft stipulates that anybody, including a competitor of a German or European company, can ask the authorities to screen whether their rivals' investment would sabotage national security. Foreign investors would have to ask the Chinese authorities in advance if their investments were in line with China's national security, according to the draft. "This would mean that a new hurdle for foreign investment would be created," Clauss said. The draft of the cybersecurity law, which could lead to slower internet connections and disclosure of source codes, also adds to the foreign companies' concerns about their business in China. "Building a cyber firewall ever higher would hamper business and make innovation much more difficult," Clauss said. "National security concerns should not hamper cooperation on innovation." He said Berlin had addressed its concerns to Lu Wei, the minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, at a recent meeting in Germany, and would like to continue such bilateral dialogue. ^ top ^

Xi tells BRICS tighter unity will boost prosperity (SCMP)
2015-07-10
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on emerging markets to strengthen their competitiveness and help boost global economic growth. In his remarks at a summit and meetings with leaders of the BRICS bloc, which also includes Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, Xi said the group should work together to protect the interests of emerging markets, and gain better representation at the International Monetary Fund. “The BRICS nations face new challenges under the existing global economic trend, but there is still great potential to tap the development of BRICS economies,” Xi said in the Russian city of Ufa. “The economic and trade cooperation among BRICS nations have entered a critical and important period.” Xi also said the bloc should push for more nations to support its development bank, the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The bloc should also help maintain the post-second world war international order, Xi was quoted by Xinhua as saying. The talks, in a city 1,170km east of Moscow, come as both the Chinese and Russian economies experience severe strain. Russia's economy has contracted and its currency has sunk due to the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. On the agenda is hammering out details for a US$50 billion development bank, an attempt to challenge the Western-dominated financial system. Crucial to the bloc's efforts to undermine Western hegemony is also a US$100-billion pool of currency reserve. Russia sees the bank and the currency reserve pool as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank. “The New Development Bank will be financing large-scale transport and energy projects and industrial development,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding the first projects would be launched next year. Russia would by the end of the year put together a blueprint for investment cooperation between the BRICS nations, he said. “We've conducted consultations with our business circles and have already put some 50 projects and business initiatives onto the roadmap,” he said. The bank's president Kundapur Vaman KamathÖ, said the bank would raise money on local markets and internationally. He said the bank should not be seen as a tool to help sanctions-hit companies but it would look at requests from Russian firms. Xi met Putin late on Wednesday. Putin said the two nations could overcome their countries' difficulties by working together. “We are clearly aware of the difficulties we face, in both the economy and international politics,” Putin told Xi. “But by combining our efforts, we will surely overcome all challenges before us.” ^ top ^

Xi voices confidence in BRICS future, proposes deepening partnership (Global Times)
2015-07-10
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday voiced full confidence in the future of the BRICS cooperation mechanism and called for deepening partnership within the emerging market bloc. The BRICS countries are facing some challenges in their respective development, but they still enjoy huge development potentials and the upward trend won't change, Xi told the 7th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in the southwestern Russian city of Ufa. The Chinese president expressed confidence in the future of the BRICS cooperation mechanism. "The more difficulties we face, the more confidence we must have," he said. He noted that any progress is not made along a straight line, but with twists and turns. FOUR-PRONGED PARTNERSHIP In his keynote speech, Xi called on BRICS countries to build a four-pronged partnership -- safeguarding world peace, boosting common development, promoting diversified civilization and strengthening global economic governance. On safeguarding world peace, Xi urged the BRICS countries to firmly oppose any attempts and actions that deny, distort and fabricate the history of the WWII and jointly safeguard the results of the WWII victory and international justice. "Forgetting history means betrayal," Xi said, adding that the BRICS nations should draw lesson from history and abandon the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game to jointly safeguard world and regional peace and stability. He also asked those nations to jointly guard against and combat all forms of terrorism and speed up the build-up of mechanism on anti-drug cooperation. In addition, Xi said the willful use or threat of use of sanctions in handling international relations do not help solve problems. On boosting common development, Xi said the BRICS countries should forge a community of shared interests and build a closer economic partnership. Xi called on the BRICS nations to push forward the construction of the headquarters of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and an African regional center, so as to put them into use and achieve early results as soon as possible. He added that the five nations should enhance coordination and cooperation to safeguard the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries on major international development issues, including the post-2015 development agenda and climate change. On promoting diversified civilization, the Chinese president said the BRICS nations should take an open and inclusive attitude, actively carry out dialogues and exchanges with other countries and international organizations, and strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries so as to boost the power of the bloc and improve its representation and influence. On strengthening global economic governance, Xi urged the BRICS countries to push for IMF reforms by expanding the representativeness and raising the voice of the emerging market economies and developing countries. BRICS countries should work together to elevate their position and role in the global governance system, and push the international economic order to conform with the historical trend of rising influence of emerging economies and developing countries, Xi said. The Chinese president called for building an open world economy, supporting a multi-lateral trade mechanism, pushing for the Doha Round negotiations to protect the legitimate interests of emerging market economies and developing countries, and ensuring that every country can enjoy equal opportunities, rules and rights in international economic and trade activities. The president also called on BRICS countries to strengthen cooperation in information security, Internet management and immigration issues. DEVELOPED COUNTRIES URGED TO TAKE DUE RESPONSIBILITIES When discussing global political and economic issues with other BRICS leaders, Xi called for building a new type of global development partnership and urged the developed countries to take due responsibilities to help developing countries strengthen their capabilities for development, thus narrowing the South-North gap and enhancing South-South cooperation. He also proposed building a new type of state-to-state relationship with win-win cooperation at the core. The BRICS countries should resort to peaceful development and not impose their will on others, he said. Multilateralism must be firmly followed, the outcomes of the victory of the WWII must be treasured, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be safeguarded, he added. Xi suggested that the BRICS countries make endeavors to win the support of many more countries for the NDB, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, thus providing momentum for world economic growth and the international financial and monetary system reforms. When discussing cooperation among the BRICS countries, Xi said that all sides should implement the significant initiatives they have made, such as the NDB and CRA, and show the bloc's strong execution. In addition, the Chinese president called on the BRICS nations to smooth the alignment of the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy with the development strategies of each member state, tap their respective strengths and potential, and carry out innovation and production capacity cooperation so as to enhance the solidarity and competitiveness of the bloc. He also urged BRICS nations to pursue justice and democratization of international relations, insist on common but differentiated responsibilities, and support the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations to increase the charisma of the emerging market group. BRICS COOPERATION HAILED Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the summit that BRICS is an important mechanism on the world stage. The five countries have been strengthening their cooperation in economy and trade, investment and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and broadening their areas of cooperation since the bloc was founded, he said. The launch of the NDB and CRA will help forge closer economic ties within the bloc and increase its influence in international affairs, Putin said. The BRICS cooperation has yielded fruitful results, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that while confronting global challenges, BRICS countries will play a significant role if the five countries can build consensus and reinforce cooperation. He said that the Indian side agreed to further intensify coordination among BRICS countries in areas including agriculture, infrastructure and climate change. The increased cooperation among the BRICS nations will benefit all peoples, Modi said. South African President Jacob Zuma said the international society is at present facing increasing challenges, which requires stronger cooperation among the BRICS nations within the framework of the United Nations and regional organizations. All the five BRICS nations are influential members of the international community, he said, hoping for enhanced cooperation and bigger role of the BRICS nations in helping African countries eliminate poverty. South Africa will actively participate in the work related to the NDB and CRA, he said, noting that his country is ready to work with other BRICS nations to implement the cooperation strategy and bring benefit to the peoples of the five nations. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, for her part, said the decision of the BRICS nations on establishing the NDB and CRA is an important measure to deepen cooperation. We need to formulate development strategies in line with the global situation, expand cooperation areas and attract more countries to participate in BRICS cooperation in a bid to increase the influence of the BRICS countries, she said. She also called on the BRICS countries to strive for greater representation in international financial institutions. The five leaders also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern. After their meeting, the BRICS leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement on inter-governmental cultural cooperation, an MoU on the creation of a joint BRICS website, and another MoU on the cooperation between banking institutions of BRICS countries with the NDB. The Ufa Declaration and an action plan were issued after the meeting. India has offered to host the 8th BRICS summit in 2016, according to the declaration. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Secretive jail that keeps Beijing's 'tigers' behind bars (SCMP)
2015-07-06
Shrouded in secrecy and described by some as the "most elusive jail in China", the notorious Qincheng prison on the northern outskirts of Beijing has housed many of the nation's most well-known politicians. Over the many years since it was built with Soviet help in 1958, the jail has held such well-known figures as Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong ; Bao Tong, the former aide of late Communist Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang ; and Bo Yibo, the father of disgraced Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai. Today, Qincheng is thought to hold Bo Xilai himself along with former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun. And it is here that disgraced former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, the first Politburo Standing Committee member to be sentenced to life in jail, is likely to spend the rest of his days. With the mainland's anti-graft drive in full force, the prison is thought to be busier than ever, so Zhou will be far from alone. Even so, he is unlikely to have much contact with his fellow inmates, given that the prison specialises in solitary confinement. Former prison officials say prisoners today are treated according to rank, with some "elite" inmates enjoying nutritious meals. But inmates of yesteryear recall torture, meagre rations, and showers once a month. ^ top ^

12 dead in east China shoe factory collapse (Global Times)
2015-07-06
Twelve people have been confirmed dead and two remained missing after a shoe factory collapsed in east China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday, local government said. Another 33 were injured in the collapse, four of whom were seriously hurt. According to the local police, 56 people, including 51 employees of the shoe factory, were in a four-story building in Folong Village, Wenling City, that collapsed at around 4 p.m. Saturday. Nine escaped the accident without injury. "There was no premonition. I heard a 'bang' and saw the building collapse," 42-year-old worker Yang Zhongkun told Xinhua. Yang said right after the collapse, water poured down from a large fishing pool built on the roof of the building. Other workers said water leak had been reported before the collapse. Local authorities dispatched 53 firefighting trucks, 302 rescuers and five sniffer dogs. The cause of the accident is under investigation. ^ top ^

Tougher action on child sexual abuse signaled (China Daily)
2015-07-06
A spate of headline-grabbing cases involving the rape and molestation of minors has prompted a review of the relevant legislation and school safety measures, and has placed greater emphasis on a lack of parental oversight, as Zhang Yan reports. "If I had paid more attention to taking care of my only daughter, and had advised her to always be cautious in the presence of strangers, she wouldn't have been sexually assaulted," said Chen Lin (not her real name), whose 9-year-old daughter was repeatedly raped by a neighbor. "The worst thing is that her mental health has been severely damaged. She tends to be silent and is afraid of contact with others. I don't know when she will come out of the shadows," Chen said, as tears rolled down her cheeks. The case dates back to August 2013, when Chen divorced her husband and moved to Beijing from Henan province to open a small business selling fruit. Because of the pressures of running her business, Chen regularly left the girl at a neighbor's home, where she would watch TV and wait for her mother to return in the evening. The neighbor, an unmarried man in his 30s, was also a migrant worker. He took the opportunity provided by Chen's absence to sexually abuse the girl several times. The attacks, which took place over the space of about a month, only came to light when Chen discovered a number of injuries on her daughter's body. In March last year, the man was convicted of rape at Beijing Fengtai District People's Court and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was also ordered to pay compensation of 20,000 yuan ($3,220). ^ top ^

Social media blamed for huge rise in the number of divorces (China Daily)
2015-07-06
The growing use of social media is a major factor behind a dramatic increase in the divorce rate, according to a lawyer. Couples who spend too long chatting online instead of talking and devoting time to each other risk growing apart, said Liu Lin of Beijing Shuangli Law Firm. Nine of 10 divorce cases Liu handles involve disputes triggered by social media, he added. A report by the Ministry of Civil Affairs reveals that the number of couples getting divorced rose from 2.68 million in 2010 to 3.64 million in 2014. The figures show that the divorce rate has increased for 10 consecutive years. "I never thought technology could break down a marriage, but I handled a divorce case triggered by QQ (a messaging tool) in 2011 and have since seen other similar cases," Liu said. The rapid growth of social media, including the WeChat instant messaging service, makes communication easier, but can reduce the amount of time given to personal, face-to-face communication, something that is essential to sustain a marriage. "If a housewife uses WeChat day and night it can create incompatibility between the couple and stop them communicating," Liu added. However, the overuse of social media is just one of the factors behind the increasing number of divorces. So-called "fake divorces", where couples part to get around restrictions on purchasing property or to enroll their children in particular schools and then remarry, have also pushed up the divorce rate. In one case, said Liu, parents who did not have a Beijing hukou, or household registration, divorced. The woman paid a Beijing man to marry her so she could obtain a Beijing hukou and enroll her child in one of the city's public schools. Once the child was enrolled, his mother divorced again and remarried her original husband. "The couple, in other words, felt they had no alternative but to solve the problem of the child's enrollment by divorcing," he said. Wang Jun, a specialist at Beijing Weiqing Marriage Consultants, said many couples come to her to seek advice on how to solve practical problems through divorce. She said people have higher expectations of marriage than their parents, and the increase in prosperity has brought with it new challenges such as the need to spend long hours commuting, increasing the amount of time couples spend apart. "A number of couples have told me they lost their love on the long way to work," Wang said. ^ top ^

China court upholds death sentence for mine killers (Global Times)
2015-07-04
A court in north China on Friday upheld the death sentence of five people who killed four miners and faked accidents at coal mines to claim compensation. The Hebei Provincial Higher People's Court dismissed the appeal of Zhang Weilan, Zhou Jun, Zhong Chengyong, Xu Chengde, Yan Shiyong who cheated 1.8 million yuan (290,000 US dollars) out of mine owners. The case is eerily similar to the movie "Blind Shaft", which won a Silver Bear at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. The five managed a 21-member gang that bludgeoned four people to death with hammers at iron mines in Wu'an City and Shexian County, both in Hebei, from October 2011 to August 2012. After the murders, the gang faked accidents and received money from the mine owners in the name of victims' "relatives". They managed to get 1.8 million yuan from the first three incidents before being caught by police during the fourth attempt, in which they had asked for 600,000 yuan in "compensation". Female gang members were responsible for luring the victims, mostly bachelors who were too poor to marry. While others scouted the shafts, killed the victims and extorted the money. The Handan City Intermediate People's Court found all the five guilty of murder and sentenced them to death in August 2014. They lodged an appeal with the Hebei Provincial Higher People's Court after the verdict. Yan Dengpeng, another suspect, was sentenced to death with a two-year suspension. Wang Huatao and two other suspects were sentenced to life in prison. The others were sentenced to different terms of imprisonment. ^ top ^

China nominates Jin Liqun for AIIB chief role (SCMP)
2015-07-07
China has officially nominated former finance vice-minister Jin Liqun to be the first president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.vvJin, who currently heads a panel setting up the Beijing-led bank, has been tipped as the top presidential candidate, as China is by far the largest shareholder of the US$100-billion institution and holds effective veto power over key decisions, including the election of its president.vvThe finance ministry made public the nomination in an online statement on Monday.vvAll regional members of the new bank are eligible to nominate their own presidential candidate by the end of the month, according to the statement.vvThe nominations will be finalised at a meeting of top negotiators late next month, and the election will be held once the bank starts operating.vvThe AIIB president's term of office will span five years, and a president can be re-elected once, according to the bank's Articles of Agreement.vvIf Beijing's candidate was seen as strong enough, he would have a good chance of winning, Michael Clauss, German ambassador to China, told the South China Morning Post.vv"There is a tradition [in multilateral institutions] that, if the biggest shareholder has a convincing candidate, usually that candidate gets elected," he said.vvChina will put US$29.78 billion into the bank, giving it a 30.34per cent stake and 26.06 per cent of voting rights, according to the bank's Articles of Agreement. Key decisions need 75 per cent of votes to pass.vvOther major regional shareholders, including India, Russia, Korea and Australia, have yet to show any interest in competing for the post.vvIndonesia, the sixth-largest regional shareholder, is unlikely to run for presidency of the bank, Indonesian finance minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told the Post last month.vvPeking University professor Wang Yong, who is also a consultant for the Asian Development Bank, said the presidential election would be competitive to an extent, but that he believed Jin was the "best candidate" for the AIIB's first head.vv"The bank needs a president who has clear understanding of the interests of different members to push forward negotiations among them," he said.vvJin was more experienced and knowledgeable in that sense, as, in his role as the secretary general of the bank's multilateral interim secretariat, he had been dealing with other top negotiators for more than half a year, Wang said.vv"He also had plenty of opportunities to get the negotiators familiar with his managing style," the professor added.vvJin, 66, was chairman of China International Capital Corporation, one of the mainland's largest investment banks, before he joined the AIIB late last year.vvHe has also served as China's representative in other major multilateral lenders including ADB and the World Bank.vvJin joined the finance ministry in 1980 and became its vice-minister about 20 years later. As finance vice-minister, he managed the budget for government organisations and oversaw fund-raising from both domestic and international capital markets.vvHe holds a master's degree in English Literature from the Beijing Foreign Studies University and was a Hubert Humphrey Fellow in Boston University's economics graduate programme. ^ top ^

China's carbon pledges for Paris talks 'ambitious' (SCMP)
2015-07-07
A senior official has defended China's climate blueprint submitted for upcoming UN talks as ambitious, saying its emissions would be lower on a per capita basis when they peaked in 2030 than the peak levels reached by Europe and the United States. Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, said China would be emitting between eight and nine tonnes of carbon per person annually by that date. "The level will be significantly lower than in the United States, whose peak occurred when per capita emissions reached 20 tonnes. In Europe, the per capita emissions were also higher than 10 tonnes when their emissions peaked," Zou said on the State Council's website on Monday. The US peak occurred in 2007; several European countries peaked in the 1990s. China is the biggest carbon emitter, accounting for 24 per cent of the global total. It has resisted pressure from developed nations to set a target for reducing total emissions, and instead seeks to chart a path that gives its economy greater room to grow. In the package it will take to the Paris conference in December, it has offered to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65 per cent from 2005 levels by around 2030, and get about 20 per cent of its energy from non-fossil fuels. Zou said the per capita income of Chinese by that time would be around US$15,000, lower than developed nations. "In terms of these two aspects, China is taking an unprecedented growth path … and China's pledges to control carbon emissions are actually quite ambitious," said Zou. Some critics say the pledges are not aggressive enough as China would "overachieve" the goals as a result of economic restructuring and investment in green technologies. But Zou said the nation faced several major hurdles, including financing, imbalances in regional development and slow progress in technological innovation. The nation's massive urbanisation plans for the coming decades - which will require massive infrastructure construction - as well as the rising consumption demands of a rapidly expanding middle class, also created uncertainties for China's carbon goal. Xie Zhenhua, special representative for climate change affairs at the National Development and Reform Commission, has previously said it will cost China 41 trillion yuan (HK$51.8 trillion) to meet the target. ^ top ^

Premier calls on overseas Chinese to contribute to economy (SCMP)
2015-07-07
Premier Li Keqiang on Monday called on the Chinese diaspora to contribute to the country's economic growth. There are more than 60 million overseas Chinese. They are a bridge between China and the international community, Li said while meeting delegates at the first overseas Chinese industrial and commercial congress in Beijing. The premier urged overseas Chinese to help promote the upgrading of the economy as they boast advantages in capital, technology, management, and business networks. They can also contribute to China's integration into the global economy in endeavors such as the Belt and Road Initiative and international manufacturing capacity cooperation, Li said. With diligence, kindheartedness and a sense of social responsibility, Chinese living and working abroad can help enhance mutual understanding between countries, Li added. China is confident and capable of meeting all kinds of challenges and ensuring a sustained and sound development of the economy, the premier said. ^ top ^

East China warns of approaching typhoons (Xinhua)
2015-07-07
East China provinces are on high alert for two approaching typhoons that may bring gales and rainstorms to an already flooded coastal part of China. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) predicted that among the three typhoons Chan-hom, Linfa and Nangka that had formed on the northwest Pacific, Chan-hom and Linfa will affect China in the coming days. The flood control and drought relief headquarters of Zhejiang Province in east China on Monday initiated a level-four emergency response to flood, saying the coming typhoons may worsen its flood situation. The headquarters said the province has seen persistent rain since June 7, which has caused serious flood and geological disasters in its mountain areas. The southeastern province of Fujian has also warned of strong wind and huge wave in the coming three days as a result of the two nearing typhoons. The NMC said the center of Linfa, the 10th typhoon this year, was located 335 kilometers southwest of Taiwan's Eluanbi at 5 p.m., Monday, and is moving toward the island at 10 kilometers per hour. It downgraded to tropical storm level on Monday afternoon, packing winds of 23 meters per second near its center. Chan-hom, the ninth typhoon this year, is located about 1,950 kilometers southeast of the Diaoyu Islands at 5 p.m., the NMC said. It is strengthening while barrelling northwest toward the Chinese mainland and is expected to lash country's eastern coast on Friday. ^ top ^

Beijing upgrades diesel buses to cut air pollution (Xinhua)
2015-07-07
Beijing on Monday completed the renovation of its 8,800-strong fleet of diesel buses, which will now discharge significantly less emissions. This latest effort, led by Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, means that the buses will discharge 60 percent less nitrogen oxide, or 2,800 tons, annually. The project follows standards on automobiles and their emissions, released by the city in 2013, that aimed to address loopholes in diesel vessel standards. Observers and officials say vehicles are a major contributor to Beijing's air pollution. The city has 5.57 million vehicles, which churn out 700,000 tons of pollutants annually. The city has promised to phase out 200,000 vehicles that fail to meet emission standards, as well as close more than 300 polluting factories this year. ^ top ^

Hydropower plant punished for polluting tap water supply (Global Times)
2015-07-07
A hydropower plant in Qinghai Province, northwest China, was fined for releasing dirty floodwater and contaminating the tap water of a city in a neighboring province.The power plant was fined 100,000 yuan (about 16,339 US dollars) and its executive was detained for ten days for obstructing the investigation, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement on Monday. In early March complaints were lodged about the strange odor and taste of tap water in Lanzhou City, capital of Gansu Province. The ministry was informed on March 4 and immediately organized interprovincial countermeasures. Lanzhou's tap water was decontaminated by March 7. Environment departments in Qinghai and Gansu showed that floodwater released into the Huangshui River by the power plant contained a large amount of mud, sand and other deposits. According to the ministry, the power plant failed to effectively prevent deposition and coordination on water quality and warnings between the two provinces was poor. Eight officials from Qinghai and Gansu were punished, one of which was dismissed, the ministry said. The ministry instructed the two provinces to tighten monitoring along the river. After the incident, Lanzhou government signed an agreement with Haidong City, where the powerplant is located, to jointly monitor the river, share information and respond to pollution emergency. ^ top ^

Former headmaster sentenced to death for raping 6 girls (Global Times)
2015-07-07
Yang Dazhi, 41, former headmaster of Xianjin primary school in Bijie, Guizhou Province was sentenced to death on May 5 for raping and molesting six girls, reported the cjrnews public WeChat account affiliated to Yangtze River Daily on Monday. Among the victims, the youngest was 8 years old and the eldest 13. The count found that Yang had sexually assaulted the students in the classroom and in his office several times under the pretext of helping them with homework. He was arrested on June 4, 2014. One of the students surnamed Zhou, who sustained sexually related injuries, said that the first time she was sexually assaulted was when she was at preschool. Required by Yang to stay to do homework at school, she was molested and raped several times between 2010 and May 2014. Yang asked her not to tell others by threatening her or granting petty favors. Zhou has been deeply depressed and shown poor academic performance, said her father. ^ top ^

Three 7-year-old boys 'sexually assault' 23 classmates (Global Times)
2015-07-07
Three 7-year-old boys from Southwest China's Yunnan Province allegedly sexually assaulted 23 of their classmates, news website thepaper.cn reported Monday. However, the local education bureau in Longling county said Monday it was not sexual assault, adding that the three children "acted as doctors doing physical examinations on 13 boys and 10 girls." Such "examinations" happened three times. The vulvas of four girls were inflamed and one of them was diagnosed with a ruptured hymen and the condition of six other students remains unknown, according to the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University. The Baoshan city bureau of education has urged the primary school, the only such school in Longling, to immediately look into the case. The provincial Women's Federation also said Monday they would closely follow this issue. All 26 students involved in the case are under 7 years old, which has triggered discussions on whether the boys' behavior should be considered "sexual assault." One of the victims, Tongtong, said she was accosted in the classroom by the three boys who used fingers and sticks to touch her private parts eight times between May and June during weekday noon breaks. "An abuser called Longlong pressed my arms and another one called Tiantian assaulted me. Qiangqiang held me back from escaping," she said. Two of the three boys were class monitors. Four "docile" students, who also allegedly suffered similar assaults like Tongtong, were waiting outside the classroom when Tongtong was attacked. "They used a thin stick to play with them," Tongtong said. Tongtong's father, Tian Pan, found out after a while, although Tongtong was ashamed to tell her father. Another victim named Weiwei was allegedly abused three times before evening self-study time every Sunday. The students suffered from the assaults for one month, the website reported. It added the boys come from poor families. There was a 30-square-meter room on the first floor of a building where the assaults took place, while the teachers' offices are on the third floor. Many students told thepaper.cn they could not see teachers during breaks, and even in the canteen at lunch. Peng Xiaohui of the Central China Normal University said the boys probably did it out of curiosity, which cannot be classified as "sexual assault." Gao Wei, head of the Yunnan University Law School, disagrees, although he said there may be a legal loophole. "As a legal guardian of the three children, their parents are liable and might have to pay compensation," he said. ^ top ^

PLA Air Force promotions signal start of changes for 19th party congress (SCMP)
2015-07-08
Three senior regional air service officials have been promoted and relocated to the political department of the army's air force, the mouthpiece of the Chinese air force has reported. The air force appointments show that the PLA has started preparations for changes to its military leadership due at the 19th party congress in 2017, when several top military officials are expected to retire. Lieutenant General Yu Zhongfu, former political commissar of Nanjing military command's air force, was promoted to political commissar of the air force, replacing General Tian Xiusi, the Air Force Newspaper said. Tian, 65, was one of the few generals to have seen actual fighting. He joined the artillery forces in Xinjiang in 1968. Tian was 35 when he was sent to the front line after the border conflict between China and Vietnam broke out on Dong Re Lao Mountain in 1979. Tian's retirement had been expected as he had reached the maximum serving age for higher-ranking officials. Defence Minister Chang Wanquan, 66, who also fought in the Lao Mountain battle, might also retire soon as the serving age for Central Military Command figures is 68. Citing a conference call of air force officials last Friday, chaired by top leader General Ma Xiaotian in Beijing, the newspaper said that Lieutenant General Zhao Yiliang, 61, political commissar of the Shenyang military command's air force, had been moved to the air force's political department to become Yu's deputy. Zhao's predecessor, Lieutenant General Wang Xiaolong retired after reaching 63, the maximum serving age for army deputy heads. Major General Fan Xiaojun, 59, former deputy political commissar of the Shenyang military command and political commissar of the area's air force, was moved to Beijing to replace Lieutenant General Fang Jianguo as head of the air force's political office, the newspaper said. Early reports by the PLA Daily and on other official websites said that Fang, 60, was working in three of the army's seven key military commands and also for the defence ministry, as well the secretary of former defence minister Chi Haotian in 1987. Fang has yet to reach retirement age, which has led to speculation that he is likely to be promoted in the near future. ^ top ^

Guangdong patients to blame in most medical lawsuits (SCMP)
2015-07-08
Most patients in Guangdong province who sued hospitals over medical outcomes in the last 18 months were at least partly responsible for the disputes, according to a mainland media report. The findings emerged after the Southern Metropolis News analysed the verdicts in about 160 of such cases made public online by courts in the province since January last year. The results come after a spate of violent attacks against doctors over the past few years. To help resolve the problem, provincial health and public security authorities last month called on patients to settle their disputes with medical staff in court. But the newspaper found that over the past 18 months hospitals were found to be solely responsible in only 12 cases, and were fully absolved in more than one-quarter of the lawsuits. The courts ruled in the remainder of the cases that both sides shared responsibility. Roughly 62 per cent of all cases related to alleged medical malpractice, and another 15 per cent were triggered by a lack of communication between doctors and patients. The courts ordered compensation ranging from thousands to a million yuan to be paid to patients in most of the cases, including in one suit in which the patient was found to be at fault. In that instance, the hospital failed to get the patient's consent for a procedure. Liu Ye, a Shanghai-based lawyer specialising in medical dispute resolution, said patients usually did not have the legal or medical knowledge they needed to provide evidence and defend themselves in court. "It's not unique to China that in most of the lawsuits the hospitals and patients were both found to be partly responsible," he said. Liu said the judges lacked understanding of medical issues and commissioned expert witnesses to evaluate the facts provided by both sides. But those experts could not always be relied on for an independent view. "In most of the cases these experts are also doctors, and it's natural for them to look at the case from the perspective of their peers," Liu said. "The patients usually don't ask other doctors to review the opinions of the expert witnesses unless they come across as absurd. Not to mention how difficult it is for patients to find doctors willing to step in." There are repeated reports on the mainland of patients and their relatives blaming medical staff when treatment fails. Some of these confrontations have erupted into violence. In March last year, a doctor at Guangdong's Chaozhou Central Hospital was paraded through the hospital for half an hour by more than 100 friends and relatives of a patient who died after being admitted for excessive drinking. A month later, a male doctor at a maternity ward in Jiangsu province was sent to hospital with serious injuries after he was beaten by relatives and friends of a patient's husband. ^ top ^

President Xi calls for better role of "mass organizations" (Xinhua)
2015-07-08
President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China's 1.3 billion people should be better mobilized by mass organizations to achieve the country's full potential. The work of mass organizations is an important component of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) work, as they are the channels that connect the public with the CPC, Xi said at a conference on improving mass organizations. Mass organizations represent people from different lines of work or age groups, such as trade unions, youth leagues and women's groups. Mass organizations should mobilize the citizens to closely unite around the CPC and converge people's passion for better life into a strong force... and jointly work for the realization of the Chinese Dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Xi said. "The Party should always share the fate of the people, with their hearts closely linked together," he said. He also called for the establishment of more powerful organizations that would play an important role in advancing state governance. This was the first time that the CPC Central Committee has held such a conference, he said, adding the meeting's major task was to address new problems with the Party's work on mass organizations. The president noted that mass organizations had played a positive role in encouraging the public to follow the Party's leadership. But he warned there was a risk of "being alienated from the people." "Under new circumstances, the work of mass organizations should be improved, not weakened or allowed to stagnate," Xi said. Chu Songyan, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, noted that the role of these organizations had been weakened after reform and opening-up started in the 1970s. "Their link to the Party was still close then, but they didn't maintain smooth communications with the people they represented," Chu said, stressing that their role should only be amplified "in the new situation". Xi said these organizations must always follow the leadership of the CPC so that the people can be united around the CPC in the "widest and closet way." "Mass organizations must maintain a high degree of unity with the CPC Central Committee in thoughts, politics and deeds, and strictly observe political discipline and rules," Xi said. These organizations should lead the people by encouraging them to stick to the socialist path with Chinese characteristics and championing the practice of "core socialist values," he said. Xi noted that such mass organizations must enhance engagement with the masses and focus more on the grass roots, said Xi. Leaders must "immerse themselves with the masses, serving them wholeheartedly, while carrying out the mass-line firmly," said Xi. He added that the management and operation of these organizations should be adjusted to better suit modern life. "More outstanding people should be encouraged to join mass organizations," he added. "Post-1980s and 1990s generations have very active thoughts and a different set of interests and values, and the Communist Youth League has to adapt to that to expand its fan base and improve its service functions," said Ding Yuanzhu, a professor with Peking University. Xi also stressed that mass organizations should better serve the people and pay special attention to helping those in need. Liu Dongchao, an expert on Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics, noted that mass organizations contributed greatly to the CPC's revolutionary success, and still have a large part to play in the revival of the Chinese nation. "Different groups of people have different demands and ideas, which might translate into different thoughts and actions. These organizations serve as a pressure valve to relieve people's concerns, as well as a channel to exchange ideas, thus, can help to solve contradictions," Liu said. Liu called for more stimulative measures to improve operation of mass organizations to better serve the public. Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, also attended the meeting. Liu said the president's speech provided much food for thought on the work of mass organizations, and he urged all Party members to improve their understanding of the significance of such organizations. The CPC has always valued the close relationship between the Party and the masses. The leaders launched the "mass line" initiative in June 2013 to boost ties between CPC officials, members and the people, while cleaning up four undesirable work styles -- formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. What's more, the authorities are promoting "three stricts and three earnests", a series of requirements for officials to improve their life and work raised by the president in March last year. The campaign calls on members to be strict in morals, power and discipline; and honest in decisions, business and behavior. ^ top ^

China to cut retail fuel prices (Global Times)
2015-07-08
China's top economic planner on Tuesday announced it will lower the retail price of gasoline by 95 yuan (about $15.5) per tonne and the price of diesel by 90 yuan. The adjustment, effective Wednesday, means retail prices will drop by 0.07 yuan per liter for gas, and 0.08 yuan per liter for diesel, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). This is the fifth price reduction since the beginning of the year. The NDRC said the drop followed a decrease in international oil prices due to rising global supply of the fuel. China has a pricing regime that adjusts domestic fuel prices when international crude prices change by more than 50 yuan per tonne within a period of 10 working days. ^ top ^

10,000 people evacuated as two typhoons approach China (Global Times)
2015-07-08
The eastern province of Fujian has evacuated nearly 10,000 people as it braces for the landfall of two typhoons, Linfa and Chan-Hom. The province has recalled 1,859 fishing boats to port, relocated 7,400 people onboard the vessels and 1,600 aquaculture farmers as of 6 pm, according to the local flood control and drought relief headquarters. A level-three emergency response has been initiated, and ferry services on two routes linking Fujian and Taiwan were suspended on Tuesday. Another cross-Strait ferry is expected to remain in port. As of 3 pm Tuesday, Typhoon Linfa's center is about 390 km southeast of the boundary between Fujian and Guangdong provinces in the South China Sea. The typhoon is forecast to move northwest at a speed of 10 km per hour, and will probably hit the coast of the two provinces Wednesday night, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said. Linfa is expected to bring gales of up to 30 meters per second, it warned. Meanwhile, Typhoon Chan-Hom, the center of which was 1,560 km to the southeast of the Diaoyu Islands as of 2 pm Tuesday, will move northwest at 20 km per hour, and arrive in the southern part of the East China Sea on Thursday night, the NMC forecast. Chan-Hom may make landfall in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces late on Friday, bringing gales of up to 60 meters per second. ^ top ^

China's draft cybersecurity law has chilling implications for internet, multinationals (SCMP)
2015-07-09
China's top legislature has published a draft cybersecurity law that would cement government control over the internet and data, rules analysts said could further limit online debate and affect multinational companies doing business in China. The 68-article law was drafted to "safeguard cyberspace sovereignty and national security" from the threat of cyberattack, cybercrime and the spread of "harmful" information online, according to a statement by the National People's Congress. The full text of the draft, which had its first reading at an NPC Standing Committee session last month, was posted on the legislature's website on Monday for public consultation. It steps up privacy protections for users' data to prevent it being stolen, leaked or used illegally. But it also beefs up the government's power to obtain records of the dissemination of information deemed illegal. It also grants the government the right to restrict internet access in places where public security is threatened. It does not refer to Hong Kong or Macau. Guangzhou-based rights lawyer Wu Kuiming said the draft law was a legal foundation for the government's established practices on internet control and censorship. If the draft goes through, censors would have the right to delete information that was counter to laws and regulations, and to stop that information from entering China. The draft would also impose similar responsibilities on internet operators, including websites and social media platforms, and make it their duty to report breaches to the authorities. Operators would require users to log in with their real names. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to 500,000 yuan (HK$632,000) and the loss of a business licence. Wu said although such practices were commonplace, the law - once passed - could still send a chill through the online community and exert extra pressure on activists, critics and dissidents as well as internet operators. The law lays out special security requirements for all networks and systems in "critical industries" such as telecoms, energy, transport, finance, national defence and military matters, government administration and other sensitive fields. The government will review products or services in these areas that could affect national security. Stuart Hargreaves, a law professor specialising in technology and internet law with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said such rules were likely to put overseas companies doing business in China at a disadvantage. "This rule will benefit domestic manufacturers and programmers as their foreign counterparts are less likely to want to turn over their source code or design specifications to Chinese authorities, and in some cases may even be barred by their own governments from doing so," Hargreaves said. He warned that the draft could have the opposite of its intended effect to protect China's network security. "The mandatory insertion of 'backdoors' into networking equipment to allow state access inevitably creates vectors for [others] to snoop on private communications and is thus counterproductive from a 'network security' perspective, let alone a 'user privacy' perspective," he said. ^ top ^

China's Okay Airways rapped for overworking pilots and flight crew (SCMP)
2015-07-09
The mainland's aviation regulator has banned privately owned Okay Airways from buying more aircraft and ordered it to cut down flying hours, in a rare move by the regulator, which said the small carrier was overworking its pilots. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said it made its decision after examining the flight mission documents and crew schedules for 60 pilots and 15 co-pilots from January to May. In a statement, the administration's north China division said it found there were 21 instances in which the crew did not take enough time off and another 65 instances of pilots working overtime. Okay Airways executives were not immediately available for comment, but the statement said the carrier had vowed to rectify the issue and abide by safety rules. The Beijing-headquartered Okay Airways has a fleet of 30 aircraft - Boeing B737s and Chinese MA60 planes. Its main hub is Tianjin Binhai International Airport in Tianjin, and it flies mainly domestic routes. It added a few Asian destinations last year. A surge in demand for air travel in recent years has led to a boom in the aviation sector. Last year, more than 831 million people took to the skies, twice as many as in 2008, official statistics show, and Boeing expects China to need more than 6,020 aircraft in the next 20 years, an 8 per cent rise over its estimate in 2013. But many airports are plagued by flight delays because of heavy traffic along centralised corridors. ^ top ^

China's monks, priests and imams earn meagre wages despite ads of decent salary (SCMP)
2015-07-09
Monks, priests and imams on the mainland earn an average of only 500 yuan (HK$630) a month, a quarter of them are not medically insured, and 40 per cent have no old-age pension insurance, a study has found. Renmin University surveyed nearly 4,400 religious facilities in 31 province-level regions between 2013 and 2015. The results were published in the "China Religion Report 2015" on Tuesday. The study found that the average monthly income of clergy in five major religions on the mainland - Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam - was 506 yuan. Buddhist monks earn on average as little as 397 yuan each month, in stark contrast to many people's belief that they are generally well paid. "Recruitment advertisements" allegedly from Buddhist temples and convents have drawn much attention on mainland social media in recent years, claiming to offer handsome salaries - ranging from a few thousand to nearly 10,000 yuan a month - to monks and nuns. But many of the adverts were hoaxes, with temples denying ever having posting such notices, according to media reports. According to the Renmin University survey, most clergy were aged between 30 and 60, and one in 10 held a bachelor's degree. Among the 4,382 heads of religious venues surveyed, the average age was 55, one in five was a woman, and 15 per cent had some university education. Among worshippers, more than half were aged below 60. Some 43 per cent had only a primary school education or below, and only 5 per cent held a bachelor's degree. Places of worship on the mainland were also becoming more integrated into modern society. Some 56 per cent of the venues surveyed held an organisation code certificate - a legal code mark required for participation in all social economic activities in the country. About 47 per cent of the religious venues had their own bank accounts, 10 per cent used the internet to preach or publicise their religion, and 10 per cent used projectors or other media devices to carry out their religious activities. Meanwhile, places of worship remained under tight government control. The State Bureau of Religious Affairs paid almost four visits on average to every venue each year, while the ruling Communist Party's United Front Work Department - which is in charge of coordinating ethnic minorities and religions - paid them close to two visits a year. Since 1977, the year after the Cultural Revolution ended, 8 per cent of mainland Protestant churches were shut down - much higher than the 3.8 per cent average for the five major religions, the study found. ^ top ^

Draft law will allow Chinese govt to cut Web access in emergencies (Global Times)
2015-07-09
The Chinese legislature has released a draft law on cyber security that will enable national and local governments to cut Internet access in cases of major public security incidents, a move observers see as countering terrorist threats or attempts to overthrow State power. The State Council or local governments, with the approval of the national government, are entitled to temporarily "restrict" network communications in some regions when dealing with major public security emergencies, according to the draft law published on the website of the National People's Congress (NPC) Monday. If illegal online information is spotted, the authorities are entitled to ask Internet providers to keep a record and take measures to remove the information. If the illegal information originated abroad, then relevant departments will be notified to cut off the dissemination of such information, the draft says. The NPC said the law is urgently needed to deal with the increasingly worrying threats to Chinese cyber security, which includes cyber intrusion and attacks, illegally obtaining and selling personal information and illegal information promoting terrorism, extremism and inciting to subvert State power, read a statement following the full text of the draft law on its website. "The [cyber security] clause is necessary to cut the spread of dangerous information as soon as possible, such as information involving terrorism," Zhao Zhanling, a legal counsel with the Internet Society of China, told the Global Times. Qin An, a cyber security expert at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, added that it also legalizes government measures when dealing with extreme situations. Authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region temporarily cut Internet and cellphone access in parts of the region after the July 5 riots in 2009 that left some 190 people dead. Experts said they believe cutting Internet access would only happen rarely, and as a last resort, as it will also affect public interests. However, the current cyber security clause does not define what "major social security emergencies," are, and also has no detailed regulations on the period and geographical range of the Internet restrictions, Zhao said. The draft law, aimed at safeguarding cyberspace sovereignty and national security, suggests mechanisms to guarantee the safety of Internet products, services, operations, network data and information. The draft fills in the long-existing legislative void in dealing with China's cyber security, observers said. "The draft provides a legal basis for the country to manage cyberspace and safeguard cyberspace sovereignty, as was stressed in the new national security law that came into force on July 1," Qin said. The national security law touches on a broad range of subjects from the military to the economy, cyber security and space exploration, and the new cyber security draft law expands on these provisions. The draft law protects key information-related infrastructure, which is expected to affect foreign companies in China. Internet products and services purchased by operators of such infrastructure will have to undergo national security check by the cyber security authority, according to the draft. This may affect Chinese banks who want to buy servers from overseas companies, for example. Internet service providers should store collected data, including citizens' personal information, on Chinese territory, and data that is stored overseas must undergo government security assessment. Operators of key information infrastructure have to delegate professional institutions to conduct security assessments at least once a year. Such clauses are in line with the new national security law which vows to make Internet and information technology, infrastructure, information systems and data in key sectors "secure and controllable," Qin said, adding those regulations are concrete reflections of the national security law. "Under the draft, foreign companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, will face stricter supervision in China," Zhao told the Global Times. The purpose of the supervision is to detect possible loopholes that could result in major information leaks from China's key industries, he said. The draft will bring potentially significant consequences for Internet service providers and multinational firms doing business in China, Reuters reported Wednesday. The draft said the Internet security department will cooperate with other departments, such as police and information technology, to conduct the supervision and assessment, and it should detail the powers of these departments to prevent them from passing the buck to each other in practice, Zhao said. The NPC said the draft is open to public feedback on the draft until August 5. ^ top ^

Experts applaud growing debate on death penalty (China Daily)
2015-07-09
People are realizing this punishment does not cut down crime Zhou Lei has followed the heated debate on WeChat on whether anyone involved in child trafficking should get the death penalty. Zhou, a legal scholar, has not found the argument on the popular instant messaging tool annoying. Indeed, he spoke highly of it. "It's progress that more Chinese have paid attention to the application of the death penalty, even though the subject of how to apply it still has a long way to go," said Zhou, a legal researcher from the Difficult Case Research Center at China University of Political Science and Law. In his view, the death penalty has been controversial among the public, and the recent debate should be applauded "because some people have realized the extreme penalty cannot reduce crimes and would like to explain that to those with opposing views", he said. In mid-June, a WeChat post with pictures and stories of abducted children called for child traffickers to get the death penalty. The message was reposted more than 540,000 times and stirred up public debate, pushing the death-penalty issue to the forefront. Ruan Chuansheng, a criminal lawyer from Shanghai, said: "The most valuable thing is the debate itself, not figuring out an answer. It's good to see that more ordinary people consider the issue important." The minimum penalty for traffickers of children under current Criminal Law is five years in prison, but in the most serious cases, including the abuse or killing of children, offenders can be put to death. "It's good to see some people in the debate researched the law before they voiced opinions online. Further discussion of the issue and advice based on what is learned is more helpful to legislators who want to improve the law," Ruan said. Since 2007, when China's top court began automatically hearing second appeals of death-penalty sentences, a major task of Chinese judicial bodies has been reducing death-penalty cases and helping guide the public's thinking on the issue, Ruan said. Until about 10 years ago, grassroots courts could sentence someone to death and execute him or her, "which caused some unnecessary wrongful verdicts and did not protect human rights", he said. "But since the Supreme People's Court assumed the power to review such cases, every death sentence must be reviewed twice, reflecting the nation's cautious approach to the penalty." Meanwhile, the number of crimes for which one can be put to death has gone down in recent years. Under current law, 55 crimes are subject to the death penalty, a reduction from the 68 on the statute books before a 2011 amendment cut the number. In addition, a recent session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, discussed abolishing the death penalty for an additional nine crimes. The number of death-penalty cases "shows that our justices have realized that the extreme penalty cannot root out some socially complicated disputes, and sometimes it may accelerate the conflicts", said Deng Yong, a law expert at China University of Political Science and Law. "The death penalty cannot keep some people from committing crimes, and the simple and violent punishment has not been the best solution to prevent offenses," Deng said. "The country needs more sensible ways with wisdom to keep the public abiding by laws, such as imposing a higher cost for breaching rules." However, it is not practical to eliminate the death penalty in today's China because a few criminals, including terrorists who inflict great harm on the public, still need to be regulated through harsher punishments, he said. Justices must work hard in the long term to educate people seriously influenced by Chinese history, culture and tradition relating to revenge, "because the thought of 'a life for a life' has been ingrained in a number of residents' minds and cannot be transferred as quickly and easily as one would expect", he added. ^ top ^

Destitute man walks for a month across 2,500km of China's remote terrain to escape slave labour (SCMP)
2015-07-10
A man walked for a month across 2,500km of some of western China's most inhospitable terrain after escaping from people who forced him to work as a slave at an illegal brick kiln. The man, surnamed Li, was found by police on Tuesday while walking along a highway in Xianyang, near Xian in Shaanxi province. The 37-year-old told police he had been walking since June 6, when he fled from people running the kiln, where he was forced to make bricks without any pay, in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, in the country's northwest. His month-long journey roughly retraced the ancient Silk Road. In April 2014, Li had travelled from the southeastern province of Guizhou to Xinjiang to find work and was duped into working for people running the kiln. His employers had seized his identity documents and withheld wages, he said. “Because he had no documents and no money, he had to walk from Urumqi to Zunyi along National Highway 312 [an expressway that stretches from Shanghai to the Kazakhstan border],” police told reporters. Police said Li was disheveled and dirty, when he was found, and possessed only a coat. The officers brought Li to the local station, where they fed him and verified the man's information. Though Li had originally planned to walk home to Guizhou, police sent him to a hostel in Xianyang that would help him find transport for the trip home. ^ top ^

China's middle class grew by 203 million in 10 years (SCMP)
2015-07-10
The mainland's middle-income class grew by 203 million people in the 10 years after 2001, a Pew Research Centre report found - evidence, it said, of a "pivot to the east". Globally, however, the lurch of hundreds of millions of people out of poverty since the beginning of the millennium had not resulted in a truly global middle class, said the centre. Instead, the improvement in living conditions for almost 700 million people had been a step forward from desperate existences on US$2 or less a day into a low-income world of living on US$2-$10 daily. The report, released on Wednesday, looked at changes in income for more than 110 countries between 2001 and 2011. More than half of the world's middle-class population was living in the Asia and South Pacific region by 2011 - a jump from 31 per cent to 51 per cent in a decade. Largely due to Asia, the world's middle-income population doubled in that time, from 399 million to 784 million. But the gains were not seen everywhere. The report called its overall findings "the uneven geography of the emerging middle class". It also noted that Europe and North America's share of the upper-middle-income population fell from 76 per cent to 63 per cent by 2011. Despite China's rise, more than three-quarters of Chinese were still low-income. Other countries seeing a shift into the middle class, where poverty fell 15 per cent and the middle-income population grew at least 10 per cent, included Bhutan, Moldova, Ecuador and Argentina. ^ top ^

Donations struggle to grow after China stops getting organs from executed prisoners (Global Times)
2015-07-10
At midnight on June 22, Gao Min received a phone call from a relative of a man who had suffered from a brain hemorrhage, saying that the family was considering allowing his organs to be transplanted. Gao, a volunteer organ donation coordinator in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province recruited by the local Red Cross Society, rushed to the hospital the next morning and waited for five hours until the 20 relatives reached a consensus. When the family finally filed the necessary paperwork to allow the man's organs to be given to someone else, the patient had suffered multiple organ failure, meaning he was no longer an eligible donor. More and more Chinese people have become willing to donate their or their family members' organs since 2014, before China officially abolished the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners in 2015 and launched a voluntary-only donation system. "I received up to 100 calls every day asking about donations and last year I assisted more than 30 organ donations," Gao, 48, told the Global Times. "But a few years ago, I could not secure even one donation every three or four months." China saw 34 voluntary organ donations in 2010, and that number rose to 1,648 by the end of 2014. The number of people who volunteered to donate their organs also rose from 1,087 in 2010 to 14,636 to 2014, according to statistics from the China Organ Donation Administrative Center (CODAC) under the Red Cross Society of China. However, the number of donors is still relatively small compared with the huge demand. Experts believe that donation coordinators often find out too late that someone's organs are available, due to doctors' reluctance to raise the sensible topic to the patient's family. "If the doctors had told me earlier and mentioned organ donation to more families, my latest case would not have failed," Gao said. Poor donors Gao has been an organ donation volunteer for eight years, and has helped with over 100 transplants. She contacts the families of possible donors to secure organs, then asks doctors to assess, obtain and transport the organs before witnessing the transplant operation. She also provides psychological support to the families of donors after operations. By the end of 2014, China had a total of 1,151 volunteers helping to facilitate organ donations, according to the CODAC. Cao Yanfang, who became the first such volunteer in Zhejiang Province in 2010, said that her original goal was a 1 percent success rate. In the beginning, she received many rejections and even threats, Cao told the Global Times. It took her three years to find 100 sources of organs. But she only took 10 months to find the next 100. Luo Zhigang, director at the No.2 Hospital of the University of South China in Hengyang, Hunan Province, told the Global Times that the hospital has made efforts to publicize organ donation such as hanging posters outside operation rooms to make more people aware of the practice. "But most families who inquire about organ donations are either farmers or poor migrant workers from other provinces," Gao added. Many educated people, on the other hand, ask what benefits they themselves could get from donating their relatives' organs, and often drop the idea after learning that there is no cash on offer, she said. Yu Li, secretary of the Red Cross Society of Jilin Province, also said that organ donors in Jilin are mostly poor families from rural areas, news site sina.com.cn reported. "Poor families cannot afford several thousand yuan in daily ICU treatment, and often give up on treatment if they are told that the patient has very slim chances," an anonymous organ donation volunteer told sina.com.cn. An organ donation official in Beijing, who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times that the majority of donors are those who die in traffic accidents. Traffic accidents claim an average of 200,000 lives every year in China, according to the World Health Organization. "So it would greatly boost China's organ donation rate if transportation departments mentioned it when issuing driving licenses," the official said. Uncooperative medical staff Despite the growth in organ donation, China's supply of organs remains far below demand. Currently, there is only one organ for every 30 people in need, Zhu Jiye, director of the Organ Transplantation Center of Peking University, told the Global Times. In Luo's hospital, patients who need kidney transplants often have to wait for three to five years. China only has 169 hospitals that are permitted to perform organ transplant surgeries, and their doctors can only perform around 10,000 operations every year, according to Huang Jiefu, former vice-minister of health. One important reason for the shortage of organs is that many doctors do not inform volunteers when they discover a potential donor, Zhu said. For volunteers like Gao, the traditional belief that the deceased should be buried whole, with all of their organs intact, is one important obstacle to donation. "In most cases, I receive calls from the families of possible donors directly," said Gao, adding that many doctors never bring up the topic to families as they fear strong reactions. Some patients' families believed that doctors who mention organ donation to them are actually trying to sell their organs, according to Gao. The underground organ sales market in many parts of China has been widely reported in recent years. In June, at least 10 cases of medical staff being attacked were reported in China. Even after being called by the family, Gao still needs to go through hours of persuasion to get into the ICU and meet the doctors of potential donors. "The doctor sometimes just throws the medical records of the potential donor at me rather than explaining the patient's condition," Gao said. Zhao Lizhen, deputy head of the Shenzhen branch of the Red Cross Society of China, also admitted that hospital noncooperation is the most common problem in organ donation, the Xinhua News Agency reported. China's regulations on organ transplants only mention the responsibilities of hospitals that are allowed to perform such procedures, but fail to mention any penalties for hospitals that refuse to cooperate in organ donations, said Xinhua. ^ top ^

20,000 tons of toxic salt seized in Beijing (Global Times)
2015-07-10
Police in Beijing and Jiangsu Province recently raided a mini-factory in Beijing, which they said was producing 20,000 tons of toxic industrial salt as table salt for seven cities and provinces. Police arrested 22 people in a four-month operation led by the Ministry of Public Security ending in April, the Xinhua News Agency reported on July 1. Established in 2008, the eight-square-meter mini-factory in Daxing district, Beijing, produced 20,000 tons of industrial salt worth 20 million yuan ($3 million) in the past seven years, reported the Beijing Times on July 2. The producer then sold the re-packaged industrial salt as edible salt to wholesalers, the report said. Hidden in trunks and stored in suitcases, the "fake salt" was sold in Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Henan, Hebei, Anhui and Shandong, the report added. Tests conducted by Taizhou authorities showed traces of nitrate, which is used as an additive and preservative in meat products. The excessive intake of nitrite is considered toxic and 20,000 tons constitutes the annual consumption of Taizhou's 5 million residents, Zhou Lügang, deputy director of Taizhou's Salt Administration Bureau, told The Beijing News on Thursday. Similar in appearance and taste of table salt, the industrial salt was sold at a discount mainly to remote towns and villages, according to news portal thepaper.cn. "The profits are huge," said Zhu Jinhua, an official of Taizhou's Public Security Bureau. "The salt they purchased at 400 to 450 yuan per ton can be sold from 800 to 1,000 yuan per ton after labeling it as table salt." This is not the first time industrial salt was sold as table salt. News website southcn.com reported in July 2002 that a factory in Kunming, China's Southwest Yunan Province did the same thing. Over 91 percent of salt produced in China annually is industrial salt, and the oversupply of industrial salt can easily flood the table salt market, Xinhua said. The average salt intake of an urban Chinese resident is 10.3 grams per day, far exceeding the World Health Organization's recommended amount of six grams, according to a 2013 report of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About three grams of industrial salt could lead to death, according to a notice on the website of the China Food and Drug Administration. "There are many types of industrial salt with varying levels of nitrite," said Fan Zhihong, a professor at the School of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering of China Agricultural University. "But a limited amount will not lead to death." Fan told the Global Times that the disguised salt was mainly sold to food processing factories, not at groceries. ^ top ^

Beijing's Chaoyang district: World's 'fifth largest intelligence agency' (China Daily)
2015-07-10
China's Internet users have amusingly nicknamed residents of Beijing's Chaoyang district (or acronym BJCYQZ in Chinese pinyin) as the "fifth largest intelligence agency" in the world after the Central Intelligence Agency in the US, the Committee of State Security (KGB) in the former Soviet Union, Mossad in Israel and Military Intelligence 6 (MI6) in the UK. The largest among Beijing's eight districts in terms of both land area and number of residents, the eastern Chaoyang district was home to 3.84 million people by the end of 2013, according to the latest statistics. Then how good is BJCYQZ at collecting intelligence? Who are they? What has turned them from common people into capable intelligence workers? How good is BJCYQZ at collecting intelligence? "A Chaoyang resident came to our drug control team this January, reporting the unusual behavior of one of his neighbors. The neighbor was reportedly behaving much like a drug user as he was sneaking around, staying at home in daytime and going out at night or sometimes staying up all night," said Li Jiangbo, the deputy-director of the drug control team of the district police station. We followed the tip and discovered more than 30 grams of ice at the neighbor's house and also two of his suppliers, added Li. In April, 12 foreign drug users were detained and a foreign drug dealing network was busted based on the intelligence provided by a resident in Chaoyang Ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking this year in June, the police located two suspects and then confiscated one kilogram of ice after receiving anonymous tips from a Chaoyang resident claiming that someone was using a specific express delivery firm to deliver massive amount of drugs. What's more, a number of high-profile Chinese celebrities were found using drugs by the police all based on tips provided by BJCYQZ or residents in Chaoyang, according to the official notices issued by the police. See more by clicking (Chinese celebrities caught with drugs) Besides drug control, residents in Chaoyang have also tipped the police about celebrities buying sex resulting in the arrest of famous micro-blogger Charles Xue (whose nickname is Xuemanzi) and well-known Chinese actor Huang Haibo. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

8 buried in Tibet scaffold collapse (China Daily)
2015-07-06
Rescuers are working to save eight people left buried after a scaffold collapsed on a construction site in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region in the early hours of Monday. They have already pulled out three workers who were trapped when building material and the scaffold fell on top of them in Bayi district of Nyingchi city, according to the regional publicity department. The three workers have been sent to hospital along with two who were injured in the incident. None of their injuries are life-threatening. It is not known if the eight still buried are alive or dead. Top regional officials have ordered "all-out efforts" to rescue them and find out the cause of the accident as early as possible. A subsidiary of China Railway Group is in charge of the construction project. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

AIIB office could be set up in Hong Kong, says Financial Secretary John Tsang (SCMP)
2015-0 7-06
Preparatory work is being pursued for the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to set up an office in Hong Kong, according to Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah. Tsang made the comment after he raised the idea with Jin Liqun, secretary general of the AIIB multilateral interim secretariat, during a meeting in Beijing last week. Tsang broke the news on his official blog yesterday. The financial secretary was in Beijing for the AIIB special ministerial meeting as a member of the Chinese delegation. "During the meeting, I expressed to [Jin] my hope that the AIIB should set up an office in Hong Kong," Tsang wrote on his blog. "In addition to using Hong Kong as a platform for financing and asset management, [by setting up a Hong Kong office, the AIIB] can also make use of Hong Kong's sound judicial system and professional legal services to make [the city] a centre of dispute resolution and arbitration for the AIIB. "I am grateful that [Jin] gave a positive response to the suggestion. Both sides also started follow-up work on the issue after the meeting," Tsang wrote. His comments appeared at odds with remarks he made to the press last week in Beijing. In response to a question last Tuesday about the possibility of the AIIB setting up an office in Hong Kong, Tsang said: "We need to see how things go. So far, no work has started. There is a need to wait and see. But there are chances [of having an AIIB office in Hong Kong]." A spokesman for Tsang yesterday said the two messages were consistent and that Hong Kong could contribute to the AIIB with its strong background in financing and asset management. Tsang also said in his blog that he would like Hong Kong to join the investment bank as soon as possible. The AIIB could start operating by early next year, and Hong Kong could consider joining it after the bank accepted applications for non-sovereign membership, he added. "Although there is still some time before Hong Kong can join the AIIB, there is no need for Hong Kong to wait to capitalise on development opportunities arising from the AIIB and the 'One Belt, One Road' [initiative]," Tsang wrote. The AIIB, first proposed by President Xi Jinping some two years ago, has become one of the country's biggest foreign policy successes. Although Washington opposed the bank, Britain, Germany and Italy - all US allies - have joined. The major holdouts are the US, Japan and Canada. Meanwhile, Tsang also urged the Hong Kong business sector to grab the opportunity of "One Belt, One Road", which he believed could be a key driver for the Hong Kong economy in the next 30 to 50 years. The initiative, which was unveiled in 2013, is aimed at boosting trade and investment between China and Europe and Africa through Central, Western and Southeast Asia. ^ top ^

PLA holds military drill in HK, locals invited to observe (Global Times)
2015-07-06
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison started a live-fire exercise in Hong Kong suburb on Saturday, the first of its kind since 1997 that local residents are invited to observe.At the Tsing Shan shooting range in the New Territories, soldiers with armored vehicles, anti-tank rockets and gunships from army, navy and air force of the garrison carried out a simulation of downtown Hong Kong defending. During the drill, six military helicopters were mobilized to fire on targets marked on mountains from distances of up to 1 km. Mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were also used in the exercise. Over 500 people from all walks of life observed the "Hong Kong Defender-2015C" exercise, which was part of the garrison's plan during this summer following two exercises in May and June. Spectators gave the well-trained soldiers rounds of applause during the 40-minute drill. "The soldiers are so impressive! I feel very safe to have them around," said Lam Shuk Yee, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. Military commentator Ma Ding-shing said the live-fire exercise showed the PLA Hong Kong Garrison is resolute and capable of safeguarding the country's security and sovereignty. Three arms of the PLA, army, navy and air force, have garrisoned the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997. ^ top ^

'Decomposing' bodies of man and woman found in Hong Kong flat as police launch investigation (SCMP)
2015-07-08
The badly decomposed bodies of a man and a woman were discovered in a Mong Kok flat yesterday, after the property owner complained to police about a stench emitting from the unit. Last night, investigators were still working to identify the pair as they had been dead for several days. The woman is thought to be the flat's 28-year-old tenant while the man, in his 40s, is believed to be her husband, according to police sources. It is understood the couple have a two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. "The two siblings are safe and now in the care of the couple's relatives," one source said. Officers made the grim discovery at the eighth-floor flat of Wing Tak Mansion on Lai Chi Kok Road following a call from the home owner shortly after 4.30pm. They found a tray of burned charcoal, but no suicide note. The woman was lying in bed while the man was behind the front door, according to police. No obvious injuries were found on them, nor were there signs of a fight or struggle at the scene. Investigators were looking into all possibilities, another police source said. "Detectives are investigating whether it is a suicide pact or a murder-suicide," he said, adding that postmortem examinations would be carried out to establish the cause of death. "Police are treating the case seriously because it involves the deaths of two people," he said. According to police, the owner said he had visited the flat to collect rent from his woman tenant. "The owner called police because no one answered the door and there was a foul odour coming from the flat," a police spokeswoman said. Police officers and forensic pathologists were continuing their investigations inside the flat last night. The force is treating the case as "dead bodies found". Crime squad officers are investigating. According to sources, the woman's father had reported about a week ago that she was missing because he had failed to contact her. Officers found her safe in the Mong Kok flat two days later. In 2008, a businessman, his wife and their two-year-old son were found dead at their home at Ta Kwu Ling, along with a heartbreaking letter describing how they had decided to take their lives because of a "big mistake" he had made. The following year, a businessman and his wife, who returned to the city from Canada to start a business, were found dead in an apparent suicide pact at their home in Yuen Long. ^ top ^

China frees journalist who helped German magazine report on Hong Kong protests (SCMP)
2015-07-10
A Chinese journalist detained for nine months after helping a German magazine report on last year's democracy protests in Hong Kong has been released, she told AFP on Friday, though associates said her lawyer was being held. Zhang Miao, detained in October amid a crackdown on mainland supporters of protests that shut down parts of Hong Kong, was held in Beijing days after returning from a reporting trip to the city. Her detention highlighted risks facing Chinese nationals who work for foreign media in China and are often subject to harassment from state security. Zhang, who had worked for the Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit, told AFP by telephone she was “safe” and on a public bus on her way home following her release. But Zhang's brother and a family friend said state security on Friday morning detained her lawyer, Zhou Shifeng. “Three people took the lawyer Zhou away, they covered his head,” said the friend, who witnessed the detention at a hotel in the capital. Angela Koeckritz, the former Beijing correspondent for Die Zeit, wrote in January that she had left China because of official pressure and repeated interrogations following Zhang's detention. She said police held Zhang shortly after she attended a small-scale poetry reading in Beijing held in solidarity with Hong Kong pro-democracy activists. Rights groups said at the time that dozens of people in the mainland were detained for expressing support for the demonstrations. China tightly controls its domestic media, and bars locals from working as journalists for foreign outlets, though they are permitted to assist with reporting. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui to visit Tokyo, Fukushima disaster area (SCMP)
2015-07-09
Taiwan's former leader Lee Teng-hui will pay a six-day visit to Japan from July 21 that will take him to Tokyo and two northern prefectures that were devastated by the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, his office said on Wednesday. The 92-year-old Lee, who last visited Japan in September, 2014, is due to spend the first three days in Tokyo where he will speak at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on July 23. Lee will then visit a cancer hospital in Koriyama City, Fukushima prefecture, followed by a visit to Millennium Hope Hills, a seaside park in Iwanuma City, Miyagi prefecture, where he will pay his respects to those who lost their lives in the disaster. Wang Yan-chun, director of Lee's office, said that the former president had initially hoped to visit disaster survivors at their temporary shelters, but scrapped the idea as he did not want to disturb them. He said Lee had been planning to visit Japan's disaster-hit areas for some time, but time constraints prevented him from doing so during his last trip. Since then, he said, Lee has been receiving invitations from the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan and others to visit Japan again, especially those areas. It will be his seventh visit since he left office. Taiwan's first directly elected president led the self-ruled island from January 1988 to May 2000. Beijing has regularly criticised Japan for granting him visas to visit as it considers him as a pro-independence figure responsible for redefining ties between mainland China and Taiwan as a “special state-to state relationship” when he was in power. In 2007, Lee angered Beijing when he visited the Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine that commemorates Japan's war dead, including a number of top war criminals. Lee said the visit was to honour his brother, who died fighting for Japan when it occupied Taiwan during the second world war. ^ top ^

24 Taiwanese firms violate bans on Japanese food imports (SCMP)
2015-07-09
Two dozen Taiwanese firms have been found to have imported food products from five Japanese prefectures in violation of a ban in effect since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the island's health authorities said on Wednesday. The Food and Drug Administration said that since it began strengthening inspections on Japanese food imports in March, the 24 Taiwanese companies were found to have imported 381 food product items from the five prefectures. After the March 2011 disaster, Taiwan banned food imports from Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba. It has been conducting random radiation checks on nine categories of imported foods. Among the 24 firms, 23 filed entry documents inconsistent with the products they imported and one failed to follow proper customs clearance procedures, the administration said. Wang Te-yuan, deputy director of the FDA's Northern Centre for Regional Administration, said firms that unwittingly imported food products from the five prefectures must report it to authorities or face punishment. Offenders could be fined up to NT$3 million (HK$750,000) and will lose permission to import the products in question, according to the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation. Authorities beefed up inspections after investigators found some Japanese food imports carrying Chinese labels different from the actual place of origin - a practice allowed in Japan but illegal in Taiwan. A legislative committee passed a motion in late March tightening inspections on food products imported from Japan. Under the new measure that came into effect on May 15, such items must carry prefecture-specific labels of origin, and some food products from certain prefectures must carry documents proving that they had passed radiation checks. ^ top ^

Taiwan, mainland east coast provinces batten down as Super Typhoon Chan-hom approaches (SCMP)
2015-07-10
China is on the highest alert as Super Typhoon Chan-hom approaches the eastern coast with winds approaching 190km/h, state media reported. The National Meteorological Centre issued a red alert, the highest, on Friday morning for Chan-Hom. Across the Taiwan Strait, authorities were making last-minute preparations as the typhoon's rain bands were expected to cross the island's north in the afternoon, the Central News Agency said. At 11am, Chan-hom was centred 380km east-northeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 18km/h. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau warned residents in northeastern districts to brace for extremely heavy rain for most of the day. Schools and offices in northern Taiwan have been closed. Most domestic flights departing and arriving from Taoyuan International Airport have been cancelled, while high speed rail services were to run as normal until noon, the Taiwan Railway Administration said. The mainland's National Meteorological Centre forecast Chan-hom to land between Fuding in Fujian province and Xiangshan in Zhejiang province, Xinhua said. The wind speed in the eye wall of the typhoon, the most intense part of the storm, is predicted to reach 210km/h when it makes landfall. In Zhejiang, more than 10,000 people have been evacuated and 10,000 fishing vessels have returned to harbour. The province upgraded its emergency response by two levels to prepare for the typhoon. Direct shipping services to Taiwan from Zhejiang have been suspended since Thursday. The Fujian provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters ordered all people in coastal fishing farms in Ningde, Fuzhou, Pingtan and Putian to be evacuated by 10am on Friday as a precaution against storm surge. Shanghai's railway bureau cancelled train services along the east coast on Friday and Saturday, and may consider halting other inland lines services if Chan-hom changes course closer to the island, state television reported. ^ top ^

224 Taiwan blaze victims remain in critical condition (Global Times)
2015-07-10
Altogether 224 people are still in critical condition following a fire on June 27 at a water park in Taiwan, the island's health authority said Thursday. Among the nearly 500 injured, three have died and 420 are still being treated at hospital. Of the 277 people in intensive care, 53 have stabilized but still need close monitoring. On average the injured suffer 44 percent burns, and 22 have 80 percent burns, according to the health authority. The blaze broke out at a party when a large amount of colored powder was ejected from a stage at the park in New Taipei City. The powder ignited before landing on the audience. ^ top ^

 

Economy
World Bank removes critical section from China report (SCMP)
2015-07-06
The World Bank has removed a critical portion from a recently released report on China's economy, saying the section had not been adequately reviewed. On Wednesday, the Washington-based institution released its China Economic Update report in Beijing that included a section urging the country to accelerate reform of its state-dominated financial sector. In blunt language, the World Bank warned that failure to address the issue could end "three decades of stellar performance" for the world's second-largest economy. "Wasteful investment, over-indebtedness, and a weakly regulated shadow-banking system" had to be addressed for China's broader reform agenda to succeed, it said. The organisation, however, said in an update to the report posted on its website on Friday that the section had been removed. "Section three on the financial sector that was previously included in this report was removed because it had not gone through the World Bank's usual internal review and clearance procedures," it said. World Bank officials in Beijing could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday. The section had also noted that the Chinese state exerted strong control over a majority of commercial bank assets, "making it an outlier by international standards". In some cases, it added, authorities were simultaneously owners, regulators and customers of banks. "Financial reform will only prove effective if it removes the distorted incentives and poor governance structures that have affected how financial resources are mobilised and allocated," it said. "As now seen, a fundamentally reconfigured role of the state in the financial system is essential to change these incentives and structures," said the section. China's leaders are trying to engineer a transformation of the country's growth model whereby consumer demand becomes the main driver rather than investment. Mainland authorities on Saturday called on the nation's largest brokerages and major mutual fund houses to work together to prop up the nation's stock markets after a slide of nearly 30 per cent in just three weeks. The Securities Association of China said brokerages pledged on Saturday not to sell shares in their own proprietary trading accounts so long as the Shanghai Composite Index stayed below the 4,500-level. ^ top ^

Reality bites as slump in Chinese markets hits listing hopes of New York-traded mainland tech firms (SCMP)
2015-07-07
So much for the planned return of New York-listed Chinese technology companies to the A-share market, which was expected to ensure a huge surge in their capital levels. Reality bites. Beijing suspended initial public offerings (IPOs) over the weekend in an apparent attempt to halt the influx of new equity and underpin stocks, which have endured a brutal recent sell-off. Founders and senior executives of China's technology stars have learned a painful lesson: the present volatile mainland market is far from what they expected. Since March, the growing influence of mainland equity investors has had a strong impact on the US stock market. The founders and major shareholders of Chinese companies trading in New York were keen to list back on the mainland exchanges. They expected the lofty valuations of tech firms on the A-share market would help to drive up their net worth several times higher than present levels. However, such hopes have been dashed after sharp falls have wiped out nearly US$3 trillion from mainland stocks exchanges in only three weeks. The China Securities Regulatory Commission imposed the temporary IPO ban for the eighth time in history, without elaborating on how long the suspension on new share sales would last. “It's too early to predict that a flood of US-listed Chinese firms will return to the A-share market,” said Clark Lee, a principal at the auditing firm EY. “There are still a lot of uncertainties and risks in the process.” About 20 companies, including Qihoo 360 Technology have kicked off their campaign for relisting on the mainland market, following the dazzling performance of Baofeng Technology, which focuses on digital products including portable DVD players and tablet-sized personal computers. Baofeng, after failing to launch an IPO in the US, carried out structural changes and listed its shares on the Nasdaq-style ChiNext market on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in March. As of June 10, shares in Baofeng had jumped 42-fold from the offering price of 7.14 yuan – closing at 307.56 yuan. Since then trading of Baofeng's shares have been suspended because it was working on a major deal. Last Thursday, Baofeng announced it would be teaming up with China's electrical appliance giant, Haier, to tap into the internet TV market. About 100 Chinese businesses, most of which are tech companies, use the so-called variable interest entity, or VIE, structure which is designed to let companies bypass Chinese government bans on foreign ownership in some business sectors. Another 1,000 tech companies aiming for an overseas listing embarked on the VIE model as they raised funds from venture capital and private equity investors. To return to the mainland market, the overseas-listed firms need to go private and conduct ownership restructuring to comply with Chinese laws and regulations. From October last year until the middle of June, the A-share market – buoyed by leveraged buying – surged about 120 per cent before it slumped amid panic selling. The market rally generated dozens of new dollar billionaires in China as the frothy stock prices inflated their personal net worth. Qihoo's market value could surge more than five-fold to more than 300 billion yuan if it were to relist on the A-share market, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Analysts said the road to an A-share market return would turn out to be convoluted because the restructuring carried risks. Beijing has yet to formally accept the relisting of the VIE companies, but – more importantly – the roller-coaster ride on the A-share market would probably foil the founders' hopes of huge overnight profits. “The A-share market has yet to prove that the high valuations will be sustainable,” said Amanda Zhang, a partner at PwC. “The senior management of the US-listed firms will still take a long view before making any decision about whether they should return.” ^ top ^

Some 51pc of A-shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen suspend trading but markets extend rout (SCMP)
2015-07-08
Mainland Chinese stocks tumbled sharply at the open on Wednesday as sell orders piled up in an increasingly fragile market where an unprecedented 51 per cent of all listed shares are now voluntarily suspended from trade, locking up some US$2.2 trillion of previously tradeable market capitalisation. A total of 660 mainland Chinese companies have requested that trading in their shares be suspended on Wednes day in an attempt to stave off the rout in the country's equity markets, bringing the total number of shares suspended in the mainland to 1,429 or 51 per cent of all stocks listed in the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. Some 509 Shenzhen companies, most of whom are listed on the SME and ChiNext Board, as well as 151 Shanghai A-shares made the announcement late on Tuesday night that trading in their shares be suspended from Wednesday. Most of the companies gave the reason that they “have some important project in preparation” and would give further announcements within the next five days. The Shanghai Composite Index opened 6.97 per cent lower to 3,467.04 and the Shenzhen Composite Index slid 4 per cent to 1,854.22. ChiNext, the Nasdaq style technology board in the mainland, fell 2 per cent to 2,304.76, after a drop of 5.69 per cent on Tuesday. In Hong Kong, the market followed mainland markets lower as the key Hang Seng Index opened 4.52 per cent lower, retreating 1,128.67 points to 23,846.7 at the start of trade. The H-shares index which tracks Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies, began 6.59 per cent lower to 11,048.04. The index crumbled to end at a three-month low on Tuesday. Stockbrokers believe many of these companies opted for suspension to prevent their shares from getting run over in the market rout. Both Shanghai and Shenzhen have reeled from a massive sell-off after hitting 7-year highs on June 12, and the two are now in bear market territory.^ top ^

China's yuan and Euro fall against greenback for the second day over economic woes (SCMP)
2015-07-08
The yuan continued its slide against the US dollar on Tuesday as traders appeared to rebuff guidance from China's central bank and instead fretted about a potential full blown stock market crisis. Onshore yuan rates weakened 0.03 per cent in early trading to 6.2089 per US dollar. The fall came in spite of the People's Central Bank setting the daily mid point 6 basis points stronger at 6.1166. The yuan can move up or down 2 percentage points against the daily mid price Offshore yuan rates also weakened 0.01 per cent to 6.2124 in morning trading. Analysts say the recent stock market fall only increases the likelihood Beijing will keep the currency stable around the 6.2 per dollar, and use the daily mid point as a mechanism to claw back falls. “Premier Li Keqiang explicitly stated in March that he didn't want to see renminbi depreciation. We also think that a stable renminbi exchange rate would now be in the best interest of China as appreciation would further dampen export growth while depreciation may reduce the enthusiasm of international investors to hold renminbi during the course of renminbi internationalisation,” said Ngan Kim-man, Head of Research and Renminbi Business Development Department of Hang Seng Bank. The greenback remains the currency of choice for global investors right now with further gains made against the Euro in overnight and early Tuesday trading. The greenback strengthened 0.18 per cent to 1.1035 per Euro, as traders awaited a new proposal from Athens addressing creditor demands. The Euro also weakened 0.04 per cent against the yuan to 6.8519. The Hong Kong dollar traded flat at 7.7530. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Overheat Warning (Infomongolia)
2015-07-06
Mongolia experiences overheat this summer. The lack of rain is likely to cause huge damage to wheat fields and livestock. As overheat continues Mongolian government has warned its citizens to be cautious and stay hydrated, especially people who live in Selenge aimag and western part of Tuv aimag as temperature of these territories is going to overcome 32°C. ^ top ^

Invest Mongolia Agency signs Memorandum of Cooperation with the Asia House (Infomongolia)
2015-07-06
One of important meetings held during the working visit of Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg to the United Kingdom was business investment meeting jointly organized with the Asia House. During the meeting, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg and Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Hugo Swire have exchanged views on investment attraction and expansion on economic relations between Mongolian and the UK. Also, Chief Executive of the Asia House Michael Lawrence and Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Jean-Sebastien Jacques have attended the business meeting. The Asia House is the biggest non-governmental and non-profit organization that represents Asian countries in the UK. At the beginning of meeting, Chief Executive Michael Lawrence has delivered opening remarks. Mr. Michael Lawrence thanked Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg for paying a working visit to the UK and noted that the Asia House will provide full support for deepening economic relations between Mongolia and the UK […]. ^ top ^

Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul signs Memorandum of Mutual Understanding with Ecological Sequestration Trust (Infomongolia)
2015-07-07
Governor of Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul has signed Memorandum of Mutual Understanding with Mr. Peter Head, CEO at Ecological Sequestration Trust (EST) to bring smart, flexible and sustainable development. EST has been working in Mongolia since December of 2013 in Ulaanbaatar under support of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Embassy of the UK in Mongolia and other organizations to gather data from Mongolia for “resilience.io”, a cloud-based regional platform of database of open economic, social and environmental data gathered through satellite observation. The “resilience.io” platform provides an opportunity to invest projects such as city resources efficiency, clean energy, ecology, clean water system recovery and safe food production. Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is the center of development of the country but it is facing many challenges like the pollution, overloaded infrastructure, rapid urban expansion and inequality. According to capital city's development strategy for 2030, Ulaanbaatar must reduce poverty and develop diverse economy with high competitive skill, and create a healthy environment for its citizens. The main part of the development strategy is to improve infrastructure of ger districts and provide housing for its residents, 60% of city's population, with proper housing. In framework of “resilience.io” platform, international team of scientists, engineers, economists, social and political experts was created to improve economy of Mongolia. It provides opportunity for Mongolian government to launch long-term projects on sectors of economy, ecology and society also create new cities and generalize investment of investment funds. ^ top ^

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg delivers a speech at the meeting of the EBRD Board of Directors (Infomongolia)
2015-07-07
Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has delivered a speech at meeting of Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). At the meeting, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg gave detailed information on investment opportunities and sectors suitable for investment also noted that Mongolian government is planning to issue tugrug (MNT, tugrik) bond, the official Mongolian currency. Mongolian government thinks that Tugrug Bond will increase trust of foreign investors to Mongolia and give positive signal on international market. Mongolia has become a 61th member of the EBRD in 2000. Since then, 53 projects of totally 2,070.2 Euro were implemented with the help of the EBRD in Mongolia. Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has proposed to the EBRD to increase its investment volume to Mongolia. In response, Directors of the EBRD have expressed their willingness to collaborate with law sector of Mongolia and support the investment funds, especially private sectors. During the meeting, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has given interview to news agency of the EBRD. ^ top ^

Burkhan Khaldun mountain registered in UNESCO world heritage (Infomongolia)
2015-07-07
The head of the National Com­mission for UNESCO and the Min­ister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Purevsuren and the Secretary General of the National Commission G.Jargalsaikhan conveyed Monday congratulations to the people of Mongolia, “on the happy occasion of registering the National pride– Burkhan Khaldun Mountain as a World Heritage”. Congratulations were also ex­tended to the officials of the asso­ciated ministries and organizations, who prepared the nomination docu­ments and co-organized the assess­ment tour of the UNESCO experts in Mongolia. They stressed that the milestoneis of great importance in studying, safeguarding, advertizing to the world and immortalizing the historic and cultural heritages, which are in connection to Chingis Khaan's biog­raphy and history. State worshiped and National pride “Burkhan Khaldun” Mountain is the hearth of history of Mongo­lians. Chingis Khaan's ordinance “to honor Burkhan Khaldun every day and night” had been written in the Secret History of Mongols 800 years ago. The celebrated historic manu­script mentions Burkhan Khaldun a total of 27 times. Burkhan Khaldun was named to be a State worshiped mountain in accordance with a presidential de­cree in 1995. ^ top ^

Mongolian South Korean Labor Agreement (English news)
2015-07-07
Mongolian Labor Minister S Chinzorig is currently making an official visit to S.Korea where he is having meetings with his counterpart, Korean Minister of Labor and Employment, Lee Ki Kweon. Top on the agenda is discussion of labor cooperation program under which Mongolia supplies an annual quota of workers. During last week's meeting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entitled “Labor Force in Korea - Labor Agreement” was signed. This is a comprehensive document consisting of 17 provisions and 83 clauses. The agreement was first made in 2006 and has since been renewed in 2008, 2011 and 2013. The Mongolian Government is naturally keen to increase the annual quota. It should be noted, however, that the quota depends upon the specific demand for workers from Korean employers. Over the last five years Korean demand for foreign workers has been decreasing. As a result of the program, the Mongolian workers gain professional skills and experience during their time in Korea. Upon their return home, the Mongolian Government is providing a range of incentives for them to set up their own companies (small and medium enterprises), including a loan program, tax breaks and equipment purchase support. It should be noted that this is unrelated to the current MoU. Since the start of the program, Mongolia has supplied 30,000 workers to S.Korea, most of who work in factories. Currently, 8193 Mongolians are working in Korea, 713 people went this year under the labor contract program having first taken a Korean language proficiency test and met other preliminary requirements. ^ 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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