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
  3-7.8.15, No. 582  
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Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Largest China-Russia navy drills to be staged (Xinhua)
2015-08-03
The navies of China and Russia will hold their first ever joint landing drills during a large-scale naval exercise later this month in the Sea of Japan. Experts say this reflects the deepened military cooperation between the two sides. The two countries will conduct their largest joint Pacific exercise from August 20 to 28. According to the plan, phase II of Joint Sea Exercise 2015 will be held in both the Sea of Japan and off the coast of Russian region of Primorsky - about 250 miles away from Japan. Military commentator Song Xiaojun says the location of the exercise is of strategic significance. "The situation in the Sea of Japan has become volatile especially after US President Barack Obama announced the so-called Return to Asia plan three years ago and enhanced assistance to Japan. Taking into account Japan's latest move to lift the ban on the right to collective defense that strengthens the Japan-US alliance and Russia-US confrontation in East Europe, tensions in the sea area may escalate. Meanwhile, the area neighbors Russia's sparsely-populated Far East and China's northeast that is undergoing rejuvenation, so both China and Russia want to enhance defense there." Joint exercises between the two navies have become regular in recent years as part of the bilateral efforts for closer ties. Last year saw the largest series of exercises that involved 14 surface ships, two submarines, aviation assets and special operation forces from the two sides. The Pacific drills follow the first ever joint Chinese-Russian exercise in the Mediterranean Sea during the Joint Sea Exercise 2015 phase I this May. The smaller exercise involved three warships from China and six from Russia and featured supply and escort drills. Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Roman Martov earlier said that the maneuvers this time will for the first time involve a joint amphibious assault drill with the participation of carrier-based aircraft. Navy expert Yin Zhuo says the larger drills result from the higher military cooperation level between the two sides. "The joint drills show that China and Russia are trying to deepen their military cooperation. Generally speaking, more specific joint trainings bring more difficulties. Units from the two sides will operate under unified tactics, with their weapons to be regrouped and warships reorganized. It requires a smooth data connection and a unified command system. And only with that, could joint anti-submarine and landing exercises be conducted." The drills will involve from both sides about 20 warships and support vessels of various class. The final planning conference for the drills has ended in Vladivostok with the signing of an exercise protocol. During the Chinese fleet's visit to Vladivostok port, cultural programs and sports competitions will also be held between the two navies. ^ top ^

Nepal, China join hands to reopening disrupted Araniko Highway (Global Times)
2015-08-03
A joint team of the Nepal Army and the Chinese People's Armed Police have started work to resume the disrupted Araniko Highway on Saturday, a major trading route between the two countries. The highway suffered severe damage due to the landslides triggered by the torrential rain after the April 25 massive earthquake in Nepal. In a press statement, the Nepal Army said Saturday that the joint team from the two countries will clear the blockades caused by ensuing landslides at the 37-kilometer-long Tatopani-Khadichaur stretch of the Araniko Highway within next 20 days. Earlier, the Chinese People's Armed Police team arrived in Sindhupalchowk District of Nepal at the request of the Nepal government. The joint team has mobilized 39 engineering equipment to clear the disrupted highway. According to government officials, the Chinese team will continue its works in collaboration with the Nepal Army unless the road clearance is finished. "The joint effort to clear the highway has been started at a time when the two countries are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment," the Nepal Army said in the statement. The army has believed that this work will help resume the bilateral trade and movement and further consolidate the bilateral ties between the two countries. Nepal and China established the diplomatic relations on Aug. 1, 1955. The quake-stricken Nepal requested the Chinese government to help in resuming the Araniko Highway last month. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu said that the Araniko Highway linking China and Nepal is the important land channel for the post-disaster reconstruction of Nepal. "The reopening of Araniko Highway is one of supported projects of the Chinese side to Nepal and will play an important role in improving the trade and deepening friendship between China and Nepal," the embassy said Saturday. According to the concrete analysis and field research by the Chinese People's Armed Police team, the Araniko Highway is damaged seriously, the embassy said. "Since it is still in monsoon and aftershocks happen irregularly, the large landslide and collapse may occur at any time. Hence, it is hard and risky for the Chinese People's Armed Police to reopen the Arniko Highway, either of which is cliff or rolling rocks," the embassy said. The embassy said that the Chinese People's Armed Police's help for reopening the Araniko Highway has a great significance on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. "This sets the best example of friendship between China and Nepal and writes a moving chapter of being a friend in need, a friend indeed," read the embassy statement. China pledged 3 billion yuan (483 million US dollars) in aid for Nepal at the International Conference on Nepal's reconstruction in Kathmandu in June. ^ top ^

Chinese state councilor meets UNGA president (Global Times)
2015-08-03
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met on Saturday with Sam Kutesa, president of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This year marks the 70th anniversary of the UN's founding, Yang said, and China is willing to join the international community in promoting the September UN meetings for fruitful achievements, and maintaining world peace and development. Kutesa congratulated China on winning the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and praised China for its support to the UN. Kutesa said the UN is willing to work with China to promote the issues including the post-2015 development agenda, and the tackling of climate change. ^ top ^

Chinese, Nepalese PMs exchange congratulations on anniversary of ties (Global Times)
2015-08-03
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday exchanged congratulatory messages with his Nepalese counterpart, Sushil Koirala, to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries. In his message, Li said China and Nepal have been developing their ties on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China-Nepal relations have become a model for equal treatment and friendly coexistence between big and small countries, he added. The Chinese side always supports Nepal's efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and highly appreciates its adherence to the one-China policy, he said. The premier said China is willing to work with Nepal to keep promoting their comprehensive cooperative partnership for generations to higher levels. For his part, Koirala described China as a trustworthy friendly neighbor, close friend and reliable development partner to Nepal, saying his country firmly sticks to the one-China policy. He also thanked China for its support and help for Nepal's social and economic development. The prime minister voiced his belief that the two countries' friendly cooperation will be further strengthened during Nepal's reconstruction after the devastating earthquakes in April. ^ top ^

China's island-building in the South China Sea faces scrutiny at Asia security talks (China Daily)
2015-08-03
Beijing faces pressure over its island-building in the South China Sea during high-level Asian security meetings this week that will include the top US and Chinese diplomats. China is expanding tiny reefs into islands and topping some with military posts to reinforce its disputed claims over the strategic sea, fanning fears of a regional arms race and possible conflict. Southeast Asia's human-trafficking problem and concerns over North Korean missile launches are also expected to be among the issues discussed at the talks in Kuala Lumpur. But a senior US State Department official said the sea row will be at the ”centre” of the three days of foreign minister meetings starting Tuesday, an annual security dialogue hosted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “The ASEANs, like us, are concerned about the scale, the scope, the pace, and the implications of China's reclamation work,” the US official said. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his US counterpart John Kerry will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), along with foreign ministers from Southeast Asia, Japan, the Koreas, and other nations. ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have various claims to the South China Sea, as does Taiwan. But Beijing claims nearly all of it, and its neighbours complain the land reclamation violates a regional pledge to avoid provocative actions. The dialogue is an opportunity for ASEAN and others “to express directly to the Chinese” their concerns, the US official said. ASEAN has grown increasingly impatient, but Beijing adamantly rejects criticism, claiming “indisputable” sovereignty over nearly all of the waterway, believed to hold important oil and gas reserves. Washington has warned the tensions could impede freedom of navigation in what is a major route for international trade. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told reporters Friday there had recently been “important progress” in talks between ASEAN and China toward a “Code of Conduct” (COC) at sea, a set of rules meant to avoid conflict. However, Aman's statement seemingly contradicts recent comments made by the Philippines secretary of foreign affairs, who told a court in the Hague last month that Beijing had spent years preventing a potential COC deal from being ironed out. “China's intransigence in the 13 years of subsequent multilateral negotiations has made that goal nearly unattainable,” Albert Del Rosario told the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Analysts concur, saying Beijing has long worked to frustrate progress while building up its presence. “China's leaders will not sign, or if they sign they will not abide by, an enforceable COC whose implementation would seriously constrain their freedom to do as they please,” Donald Emmerson, a Southeast Asia expert at Stanford University, wrote recently. The “time has come to abandon ASEAN's entrenched mirage” of a meaningful COC, he said. Kerry is expected to push hosts Malaysia to step up efforts to fight human-trafficking after Washington last week controversially lifted the country out of the lowest tier in its annual report card on the scourge. Southeast Asia was seized earlier this year by a refugee crisis after a Thai crackdown on people-smuggling left thousands of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar stranded at sea. Along with Thailand, Malaysia was found to have brutal trafficking camps on its soil. Southeast Asian countries blamed Myanmar over the persecution of its Rohingya minority, which drives many into trafficking rings. It was not clear whether ASEAN member Myanmar would face significant pressure over the issue in Kuala Lumpur. Kerry also is due to meet with his Turkish counterpart as both sides grapple with the threat posed by the Islamic State. There is also the possibility the top North and South Korean diplomats could hold a brief and rare meeting. Perennial tensions between the Koreas remain high, with nuclear-capable Pyongyang believed to be preparing for a long-range rocket test. ^ top ^

China, ASEAN to work together to safeguard peace, stability of South China Sea: Chinese FM (Xinhua)
2015-08-04
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Monday that China is committed to working with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and enhance consultations on the Code of Conduct ( COC) to maintain peace and stability of the sea. Wang Yi, who is on a two-day visit to Singapore, made the remarks at a press conference here. Stressing that China and ASEAN have agreed to adopt the dual- track approach in resolving the South China Sea issue, the Chinese foreign minister said that parallel progress has been made along DOC and COC, with measurable progress already achieved during the 9th China-ASEAN senior officials' meeting in Tianjin days ago. On the COC, for example, all parties agreed the COC consultation will enter into the new phase of discussing crucial and complex issues. China and ASEAN will begin working on common elements in producing a COC framework, he said. During the meeting in Tianjin, senior diplomats from China and Southeast Asia also agreed to set up an eminent persons and experts group (EPEG) as soon as possible to provide expertise to the COC consultation, as well as two hotline platforms between China and ASEAN countries, which will focus on maritime search and rescue as well as respond to maritime emergencies, the minister said, adding that they also agreed to begin to develop some preventive measures in response to risks at the South China Sea before the conclusion of the COC. In terms of implementing the DOC, Wang said that China and ASEAN countries agreed to cooperate in the areas of maritime navigation safety and search and rescue, maritime science and combating transnational crimes to advance China-ASEAN cooperation. […] Noting the South China Sea has been under spotlight in recent years, Wang said that the South China Sea is not an issue between China and ASEAN as a whole. Therefore, it should not affect the overall interests of China-ASEAN cooperation. "We have agreed a clear approach to resolving the South China Sea issue, it's the dual-track approach advocated by China. That is, the directly concerned states will properly resolve the South China Sea issue through peaceful negotiation, and in the meantime, China and ASEAN countries will work together to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea," Wang said, adding that the senior officials meeting for implementing the DOC, and the joint working group for advancing consultation towards a COC have been operating smoothly in addressing the South China Sea issue. "At the moment, the general situation in the South China Sea is stable and China is steadfastly committed to working with the parties to maintain the situation which has not come easily. And we will never allow any country to destabilize the South China Sea, " he said. Also at the press conference, the Chinese foreign minister stressed that the nine-dash line should not be the focus of the South China Sea issue, and the focus of the issue is the territorial disputes triggered by the illegal occupation of the islands and reefs that belong to China's Nansha Islands. The nine-dash line was promulgated by the then Chinese government in 1940s and it has been upheld by the successive governments in China, the minister said. Wang Reiterated China's positions on the South China Sea, saying China is committed to upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, peacefully resolving the disputes by ways of negotiation and consultation, managing the differences through developing rules and mechanisms, maintaining the freedom of navigation and flyover and generating win-win results through cooperation. Stressing that China is also committed to resolving disputes through negotiations with directly concerned countries, Wang who will attend foreign ministers' meetings on east Asian cooperation in coming days in Malaysia, also pointed out that the foreign ministers' meetings are not the proper platforms to solve the disputes. "China has never believed those multi-lateral forums are the appropriate place for discussing specific bilateral disputes, and our experience so far is that attempts to do so cannot help resolve the underlying issues." ^ top ^

China, Singapore vows to promote bilateral cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-08-04
China and Singapore on Monday pledged to further promote substantial cooperation between the two sides, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam during his two-day visit to the city state. The Chinese foreign minister conveyed China's warm congratulations to Singapore as the latter celebrates its 50th year of independence this weekend. The spirit of Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has been passed on to Singaporean leaders and its people, and China believes that Singapore will create a brighter future, he told the Singaporean prime minister. "China-Singapore cooperation has always been forward-looking and pace-setting," and has always been a spearhead among China's relationships with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Wang said. As this year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore, he said new opportunities have emerged in the development of bilateral ties. China is willing to cooperate with Singapore to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries to explore and open up new areas of cooperation, the minister said. For his part, Lee Hsien Loong said China-Singapore cooperation has been highly effective, and expressed hope that the two countries maintain the good momentum of bilateral ties and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. Singapore is willing to enhance substantial cooperation with China, especially in promoting the third government-to-government cooperation project as well as upgrading the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), Lee said. During the day, the Chinese foreign minister also met with his Singaporean counterpart K Shanmugam. As Singapore becomes the coordinator of China-ASEAN relations later this year, Wang said he is confident that China-Singapore relations, and China-ASEAN relations will move smoothly with fresh opportunities for development. The two ministers held a wide range of in-depth discussions on international and regional issues of mutual concern, including the issue of the South China Sea.  ^ top ^

China ready to help flooding Myanmar (Xinhua)
2015-08-04
China is ready to provide assistance for the flooding areas across Myanmar, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang told a press conference in Kalay township of Sagaing Region on Monday. Rescue boats have been arranged to contribute in facilitating residents' transportation in flood-hit areas, Hong Liang said, adding that China will also help in reconstruction of destroyed schools and infrastructures in those areas. On the same day, a rescue mission led by Ambassador Hong Liang handed the first batch of donations covering 1,545 families in Kalay township in Sagaing Region, which will be followed by another batch of donation covering 20,000 families in Sittway, Myanmar's western Rakhine State on Tuesday, the press release from the Chinese Embassy to Myanmar said. Hong Liang has dispatched another group of Chinese diplomats to carry out rescue mission in central Magway Region within the same week, the release said, adding that a special family rescue package has been designed to provide the flood-stricken people with daily necessities. The total fund of the program for Rakhine State as well as Sagaing and Magway regions stands about 300,000 U.S. dollars. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, about 850,600 acres (344,493 hectares) of farmlands were submerged, of which Rakhine state suffered the most with over 260, 000 acres ( 105,300 hectares). Since June, heavy monsoon rains have left at least 47 people dead and affected more than 210,000 others in 12 out of Myanmar's 14 states and regions, according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. ^ top ^

Return of official's brother 'difficult' (Global Times)
2015-08-05
China is demanding the return of the youngest brother of a former top State official, who is reportedly hiding in the US, media reported Tuesday. Analysts said that the repatriation of Ling Jihua's youngest brother, Ling Wancheng, might be difficult for political reasons. But they added that if proven successful, it will set a precedent to have fugitives suspected of corruption or other crimes returned from the US to China. Several US officials were cited by The New York Times as saying that the wealthy and politically connected businessman is hiding in the US, adding that the US continues to deny Beijing's demand for Ling Wancheng's return. Chinese news media Caixin on Tuesday also reported on Ling Wancheng's 725-square-meter house in Loomis, California where he was last contacted by a neighbor in May. "Since no extradition treaty exists between the two countries and Ling Wancheng is not facing trial, it is difficult for China to ask the US to offer assistance in having him extradited," Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity Building at Peking University, told the Global Times. Marc Raimondi, US Department of Justice spokesman, was quoted by The New York Times as saying that the department "will vigorously pursue prosecutions in the United States where there is alleged money laundering or other criminal activity in this country by fugitives sought by China." Raimondi said that "it is not sufficient to simply provide a list of names" and the department has urged China to provide evidence. "If Ling Wancheng is successfully repatriated, it will set a good example for the two countries to deal with the issue in a more cooperative way, and it will also serve as a warning to other Chinese fugitives in the US," Zhuang said. China and the US have discussed ways of enhancing cooperation on law enforcement issues, including identifying and returning or prosecuting fugitives. "Signing an extradition treaty is a political issue. It is not easy to get US Congress approval considering its traditional bias on human rights and other issues involving China," Huang Feng, director of the Institute for International Criminal Law at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times. Ling Jihua, the vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) for "seriously violating" Party disciplines on political matters and confidentiality, Xinhua news agency reported in July.
Ling Wancheng is a businessman whose company amassed more than 1.4 billion yuan ($225 million) from initial public offerings. He was arrested in November 2014, Caixin reported. ^ top ^

China's foreign minister 'mulls talks with Japanese counterpart' during Asean meeting (SCMP)
2015-08-05
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested on Tuesday he is considering holding talks with his Japanese counterpart on the sidelines of regional meetings held this week in Malaysia. As Japan and China are trying to avoid upsetting delicate ties this summer on the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, Wang told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that he would monitor the situation on whether to meet with Fumio Kishida. Wang will attend a series of meetings involving foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and some major powers, including Russia and the United States. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea are expected to top the agenda. If the talks with Wang take place, Kishida, who is scheduled to arrive in the Malaysian capital late on Wednesday, would most likely discuss with him a statement Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to issue next week on the anniversary of the end of the war. Amid signs of thawing relations between the two countries, Beijing, which has perceived that Japan has not done enough to atone for its atrocities before and during the conflict, is closely watching what Abe will say in the statement. Kishida is also expected to raise the issue of China's gas field development in the East China Sea close to Japan's territorial waters. Japan last month published a map and aerial photographs of 12 offshore structures and criticised China for going against the spirit of a 2008 accord between the two countries on joint gas development in the area. ^ top ^

China becomes one of top five export markets for Britain (Xinhua)
2015-08-05
China has emerged as the fourth largest export market for Britain in the past year, analysis of Britain's government trade figures has revealed. Santander Corporate and Commercial is the latest organisation to examine latest figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONC). According to Santander, China's mainland became Britain's sixth largest export market in 2014, after exports grew 12 percent compared to the previous year. That figure meant the Chinese mainland displaced Belgium and Luxembourg in the top 50 export destination for British goods. However the ONS counts exports separately to China's Hong Kong region. In 2014 exports to this region of China stood at just under 10 billion U.S. dollars. Added together, exports to the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, totalling almost 32 billion dollars, took China to fourth place, ahead of France and Britain's close neighbor, Ireland. The United States remains Britain's biggest export market, worth just over 58 billion dollars, capturing almost 13 percent of all exports. Germany was next with 48 billion dollars, or 10.6 percent of exports, followed by the Netherlands in third place with sales worth 36 billion dollars. Exports to the Chinese mainland (not counting Hong Kong) stood at 22 billion dollars, with Belgium and Luxembourg generating 19.5 billion dollars of exports from Britain. Germany was the biggest importer into Britain, with goods worth 96 billion dollars, followed by China. Imports from the Chinese mainland were worth 56 billion dollars, increasing to 68 billion dollars when the ONC's separately counted imports from Hong Kong are added. John Carroll, head of international at Santander Corporate and Commercial, said: "International trading continues to be a key, strategic growth strategy for UK businesses as well as all stakeholders in the UK economy." "It is important that businesses look to explore opportunities around exporting as, managed correctly, it can be hugely beneficial to their long-term growth aspirations," said Carroll. Four new markets entered the top 50 UK exports list in 2014: Angola, with exports worth over 1.2 billion dollars; Pakistan (963 million dollars); Azerbaijan (936 million dollars); and Macedonia (809 million dollars). Leading economists in Britain have sounded a note of caution, saying in 2015 the value of the pound sterling was making British goods more expensive, particularly in the eurozone which accounts for almost half the British manufactured goods sold overseas. Meanwhile the London-based Financial Times reported Tuesday that Britain will miss its target of doubling exports by more than a decade, citing a report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The paper says the BCC report is the latest in a string of warnings that Chancellor George Osborne's ambitious plan to double annual exports from Britain to a trillion pounds sterling by 2020 (1.56 trillion dollars) and ensure that 100,000 additional companies export is unlikely to be succeed. BCC has estimated that at the current rate of progress it will take Britain until 2034 to double exports. John Longworth, director-general at the BCC, tells the FT: "The fact the chancellor's target would be missed by 14 years tells us that the radical shift needed has not happened. We cannot continue doing the same things, yet dream of different results." ^ top ^

China warns of sea provocation at ASEAN (Global Times)
2015-08-05
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday reiterated that the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting is not the platform to discuss South China Sea issues. Tensions over the South China Sea are expected to overshadow the annual meeting, despite Wang's remark on Monday that the multilateral meeting is not the appropriate forum to discuss the matter. Wang on Monday criticized "non-regional" countries for interfering in the talks. He said China and ASEAN agreed that South China Sea disputes would be resolved through discussions between the countries directly involved. "ASEAN can and should play a vital part in effecting an amicable settlement" on the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in his opening remarks at the opening ceremony on Tuesday. He later told reporters that the foreign ministers "discussed ways to address erosion of trust and confidence among parties following recent developments in the South China Sea, including land reclamation, as well as escalation of tensions on the ground," AFP reported. Albert Del Rosario, Foreign Minister of the Philippines, accused Beijing of "massive reclamation activities" during Tuesday's meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers, according to a transcript of his remarks obtained by AFP. US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday also talked about tensions in Asia during a speech in Singapore. He said that the US wanted a region where "countries cooperate to prevent small disputes from growing into large ones," reported Reuters. Wang and Kerry will join foreign ministers from the 10 members of the ASEAN on Wednesday for the summit. Wang is expected to meet Kerry on Wednesday morning on the sidelines of the meeting, which ends Friday. […] The ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision, the bloc's roadmap for the next 10 years, is also expected to be adopted this year. Third force in Asia- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday that the ASEAN bloc is on course to become the world's fourth-largest economy by 2050, after the US, the European Union and China, and could likely emerge as a "third force" in Asia. "It is timely for ASEAN's united voice to be heard more frequently at multilateral fora," he said, citing global issues such as the rise of radicalization and extremism, and irregular movements of people, which cannot be resolved by one nation alone, quoted the Xinhua News Agency. Shen, the CIIS expert, sees great potential in ASEAN, despite economic development of individual members and the bonds between them not being as strong as some regional organizations, such as the EU. "Cooperation and common prosperity is an ASEAN priority. As the world is on a path toward multi-polar order, ASEAN has vast potential in contributing to the world's economic development," Shen noted, stating that there should be increased cooperation between ASEAN and China in developing the China-led "One Belt, One Road" initiatives as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). During a meeting with Wang Tuesday, Najib said that Malaysia fully supports the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative and the AIIB. Najib also said the country welcomes more Chinese enterprises to invest and particularly participate in the development of Malaysia's manufacturing sector. Wang also told reporters Tuesday that the forthcoming establishment of ASEAN Community by the end of this year will give fresh impetus to China 's "Belt and Road" initiatives. A series of meetings will be held following the foreign ministers' meeting, in which ASEAN's dialogue partners, including China and the US, will take part and exchange views on regional issues with the bloc. ^ top ^

UNWTO praises China for using tourism to fight poverty (China Daily)
2015-08-05
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has praised China for promoting rural tourism as a way to fight poverty, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday. According to the organization, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) of China have recently taken the decision of promoting "rural tourism as an effective means to fight poverty." Between 2011 and 2014, more than 10 million people "were lifted out of poverty through tourism," the UNWTO said, citing data from Chinese tourism authorities. Moreover, China is launching a plan "to lift 17 percent of the country's impoverished population out of poverty by 2020." UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, who has recently met with officials of Chinese tourism authorities, said that tourism "is a labor-intensive sector providing a wide range of job and entrepreneurship opportunities in areas where other economic activities are often limited or in decay." The CNTA and China's LGOP expect three million rural tourism businesses to receive two billion annual visitors by 2020, a fact that will allow lifting two million of China's rural population out of poverty every year. The UNWTO has called on the occasion of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development for more investment in tourism. The UNWTO warned the sector "still receives limited attention as a tool for development." ^ top ^

China and US discuss ways to fight terror (China Daily)
2015-08-05
Senior diplomats from China and the United States met in Beijing on Tuesday for the second China-US consultation on anti-terrorism issues as the world's two largest economies vowed to boost cooperation in anti-terror information sharing and law enforcement. Terrorism struck China recently when a suicide bombing hit a hotel housing the Chinese embassy in Somalia in July, killing one and injuring four embassy staff members. Both sides agreed that "the China-US efforts in enhancing bilateral and multilateral anti-terror cooperation serve the shared interests of both countries", according to a release on Tuesday by the Chinese Foreign Ministry following the second China-US counterterrorism consultation. They said Tuesday's talks were helpful in creating a positive atmosphere for the next stage of interactions, and agreed to hold a third round in the US "at an appropriate time". Vice-Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping and Tina Kaidanow, coordinator for counterterrorism at the US State Department, co-chaired the talk. Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, observed that China has witnessed changes in terrorist threats against it recently. "In the past, China's major terror threats came from within the country. As China's interests overseas are expanding, a growing number of terrorist attacks focus on such interests," he said. Jin also noted an increasing common ground between China and the US when they are analyzing terrorist threats, which echoes the necessity for stronger teamwork. In July last year, Cheng and Kaidanow co-hosted the first consultation in Washington, and the two sides "achieved broad consensus", Xinhua News Agency said. China stressed the terrorist nature of the "East Turkestan Islamic Movement" and urged Washington to "energetically support and coordinate China's efforts in fighting against ETIM terrorist forces". According to a news release on June 24, Chinese government officials and industry experts accepted a US invitation to discuss best practices on stemming the illicit flow of chemical precursors and dual-use bomb components used by terrorists worldwide in improvised explosive devices. Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the two countries should "reach a strategic consensus" on curbing terror organizations that have global reach. Pragmatic China-US cooperation to crack ETIM is necessary because the fight against regional terrorist groups is the precondition for reining in global organizations, Fu said. Anti-terrorism has also been high on the agenda of law enforcement departments. On April 9, State Councilor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun and visiting US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson co-chaired the first ministerial meeting between the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and the US Homeland Security Department in Beijing. They agreed to fortify cooperation in "anti-terrorism information exchanges involving foreign terrorists, border controls, anti-terrorism financing, cyberspace anti-terrorism and the fight against violent extremism". ^ top ^

First train from China arrives in Baku via Trans Caspian Int'l Transport Route (Xinhua)
2015-08-05
The first container train from China arrived at Baku International Sea Trade Port in Alyat, Azerbaijan via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), local media reported Tuesday. The train consisting of 82 containers and 41 platforms departed from China on July 28 and arrived in Baku on Monday after traveling more than 4,000 km with a stop in Aktau, Kazakhstan. Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Abid Sharifov emphasized the significance of the TITR for the whole region at the opening ceremony, and Askar Mamin, president of Kazakhstan Railways, also thought highly of the route's potential. Mamin said that Azerbaijan Railways can gain profits worth 600-700 million U.S. dollars from transit traffic by 2020. "Today a significant event took place. We believe this is the first sign of a larger project. We estimate its potential at over 300,000 containers by 2020," Mamin said. He believed that the same container from China through Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan would be delivered to Georgia and Turkey in the near future. During the first meeting of the Coordination Committee of the TITR in Baku in January 2015, the parties reached an agreement to organize a container service on the China-Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route by using the new Zhezkazgan-Beineu railway. The project envisages the involvement of transit and foreign trade cargoes, as well as the application of competitive single railway tariffs in order to increase cargo transportation. The launch of this route will significantly improve the transit and export prospects of the member countries and increase the competitiveness of the TITR. The Coordinating Committee of the TITR was established in October, 2013. The project is being implemented by Kazakhstan Railways, Azerbaijan Railways, Azerbaijan's State Caspian Sea Shipping Company and Baku International Sea Trade Port. ^ top ^

Chinese FM proposes three initiatives to maintain peace, stability of South China Sea (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday proposed here three initiatives to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea. Wang made the proposals at a press conference after he met with foreign ministers from 10 ASEAN countries at the ongoing ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting. The first initiative is that countries in the South China Sea pledge to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in a comprehensive, effective and complete way, accelerate consultations on formulating a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea and actively discuss " precautionary measures for maritime risk management and control," Wang said. Second, countries outside the region pledge to support the above-mentioned efforts by countries in the region, and do not take actions that may cause tension and complexity in the region. Third, countries pledge to exercise and safeguard their freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, the Chinese foreign minister noted. ^ top ^

China willing to work with U.S. to contribute to world peace, stability: FM (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Wednesday that China is willing to work with the U.S. side to make full preparations to ensure the success of Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to the United States in September. The visit will not only make further arrangements for mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and push forward the new major-country relations between the two countries, but will also jointly send positive signals to the international community, Wang said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the ongoing ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Wang said China is ready to step up cooperation with the United States in the fields of investment, military, climate change, finance, economy and trade, energy, hunt of corrupt officials, justice and public health. China also wishes to join hands with the United States in strengthening coordination and collaboration on regional and international issues concerning the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Iran nuclear program, Middle East, counter-terrorism and Afghanistan so as to play a constructive role in safeguarding world peace and stability. Wang emphasized that it is all the more important now for both China and the United States to properly handle two major issues - strategic mutual trust and sound interaction in the Asia-Pacific region. Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of World War II, Wang said it was the joint efforts of China, the United States and some other countries at that time that established an international order and system with the United Nations at its core. […]The United States supports a strong and prosperous China, and would like to see China go ahead with further development. The United States is ready to establish strategic mutual trust with China and will explore sound interaction in handling Asia- Pacific affairs, Kerry said. He said the United States has never sought to confront China in the region. Washington appreciates the important and positive role Beijing has played in the Iran nuclear program, Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and climate change, among others. Kerry said the United States will continue to deepen cooperation with China in various fields, and also highly appreciates China's prominent contribution to the Global War Against Fascism. The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the South China Sea. Wang stressed that China has adopted a "dual-track" approach in addressing the South China Sea issue with the ASEAN countries and established a mechanism for negotiations of the issue. […] The United States supports China to resolve the South China Sea disputes with related countries through peaceful negotiations. On Wednesday, Wang also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murrary McCully, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, and Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz. ^ top ^

China willing to align Belt and Road with ASEAN's development strategies: FM (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Wednesday that China is willing to align its "One Belt, One Road" initiative with ASEAN countries'respective development strategies. During the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Wang said that geographically close to each other, China and the ASEAN are good friends. As special dialogue partners, the two sides are backbones in safeguarding regional peace, stability and development, he said, adding that China-ASEAN cooperation is the main platform for China to participate in regional cooperation. Wang said that with joint efforts of the two sides, China-ASEAN relationship is continuously moving forward, with substantial development achieved in the preparation for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), positive achievements in a series of initiatives like Free Trade Zone upgrade and smooth implementation of"the Year of China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation." Wang said that China regards ASEAN as a priority in China's diplomatic policy with neighboring countries, a key region for constructing "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" and an important partner in building the new-type international relations featuring win-win cooperation. Our fundamental interest is to accelerate development, our utmost common need is to maintain stability and our biggest common wish is to deepen cooperation, Wang said, adding that China will as always resolutely support the construction of ASEAN Community, back up ASEAN's leading role in regional cooperation and support ASEAN to play a positive role in international and regional affairs. China is willing to align China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative with ASEAN countries' respective development strategies and the construction blueprint of ASEAN Community in order to provide new impetus and create new prospects for China-ASEAN cooperation and growth, the Chinese foreign minister said. In the process of building a closer community of common destiny with ASEAN and pushing forward China-ASEAN"2+7"cooperation framework, Wang put forward 10 new proposals on further deepening China-ASEAN cooperation. The hard-won peace in the South China Sea is the result of China and ASEAN's joint efforts and China and ASEAN nations have the will and wisdom and are capable of manage and control differences, build consensus, maintain stability and safeguard peace in the region, according to Wang. All parties in and outside the region are responsible and obliged to support the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, he said while proposing three initiatives to maintain peace, stability of South China Sea. The first initiative is that countries in the South China Sea pledge to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)in a comprehensive, effective and complete way, accelerate consultations on formulating a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea and actively discuss " precautionary measures for maritime risk management and control." Second, countries outside the region pledge to support the above-mentioned efforts by countries in the region, and do not take actions that may cause tension and complexity in the region. Third, countries pledge to exercise and safeguard their freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, the Chinese foreign minister noted. ASEAN foreign ministers agreed at the meeting that the China- ASEAN partnership is the most positive and fruitful relations among ASEAN's relations with its partners, and ASEAN highly appreciates China's contributions on boosting China-ASEAN relations, as well as the Chinese side's 10 new proposals on deepening China-ASEAN ties. ASEAN attaches great importance to the China-ASEAN strategic cooperation partnership and is willing to work with China on the construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, enhance connectivity and boost the construction of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, they said, adding that ASEAN would also like to deepen cooperation with China in such sectors as investment, production capacity, education, technologies, public health and people-to- people exchanges. ASEAN member states spoke highly of Wang's three initiatives to maintain peace, stability of South China Sea, as well as the positive progress achieved at the senior officials' meeting in Tianjin, China on the implementation of the DOC and formulation of the COC. ASEAN is willing to work with China on the implementation of the DOC and enhance consultation on the COC so as to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, according to the foreign ministers. ^ top ^

Czech president to reportedly participate in WWII anniversary in Beijing (Global Times)
2015-08-06
The president of the Czech Republic became the first EU leader to confirm attendance at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing on September 3, while uncertainty remained about the participation of more Western powers. Czech President Milos Zeman is so far the only EU member to participate in the anniversary, Prague-based newspaper Hospodarske Noviny (HN) reported Tuesday. "EU wants to avoid the celebrations due to the tension between China and Japan, among others," said the report, adding that the trip will be a good opportunity to enhance relations between the Czech Republic and China. Chen Zhimin, a professor with the Center for European Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times that Czech Republic is a relatively independent country in the EU and has always kept a good relationship with China. Analysts pointed out that the EU may take the anniversary as an opportunity to keep the pressure on Russia due to the Ukraine crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed in March that he will attend the September 3 celebration, while the EU has already avoided the WWII celebration in Moscow on May 9. Zhang Shengjun, an international relations expert from Beijing Normal University, noted that the EU might also have misunderstood the intention of the celebration, which has been widely misinterpreted as a way for China to pressure Japan on historical issues. "However, their absence, should it happen, will not affect the relations with China, as it would not outweigh the large trade and close cooperation between the two sides," Zhang told the Global Times. Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he has not heard about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to China in September and that US President Barack Obama is temporarily uncertain whether he will attend the event, the China Central Television reported Wednesday. "The US is hesitating because they want to strike a balance between China and Japan. As a victorious nation in WWII, it should attend the celebration, but at the same time, it needs to take into consideration Japan, which is a close ally," Zhang said, adding the US may send a lower-level official instead. Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have said they would attend the anniversary in Beijing. ^ top ^

China, Russia pledge to boost bilateral ties (China Daily)
2015-08-06
China and Russia pledged to boost bilateral cooperation as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the ongoing 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Speaking of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Global War against Fascism, Wang said both China and Russia have organized celebration events that aim to demonstrate the two countries' historic contributions in fighting against invasion, as well as express their firm determination to jointly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms of international relations. China welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to take part in China's celebration events for the World War Two (WWII) victory anniversary on Sept 3, and will cooperate with Russia on the preparation work, said the Chinese foreign minister. China is willing to strengthen the strategic coordination with Russia on Asia-Pacific affairs to promote a common, cooperative, comprehensive and sustainable Asian security concept and jointly safeguard regional peace, stability and development, Wang said. He hailed the successful holding of the seventh BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit and the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Russia's Ufa earlier this year, saying they injected new impetus to the development of the two organizations. China would like to work with Russia to implement the outcomes of the two summits and maintain the development momentum of the two organizations, he added. The Russian foreign minister, on his part, said Russia speaks highly of the attendance of Chinese President Xi Jinping at Russia's celebration event of WWII victory anniversary on May 9 this year, as well as the outcomes at the two summits in Ufa. President Putin is looking forward to taking part in China's victory day celebration on Sept 3, said Lavrov. Developing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership is one of Russia's priorities in diplomacy, and the strategic cooperation between the two countries is in favor of the global strategic stability, he said. Russia stands ready to maintain cooperation and coordination with China within the mechanisms of the United Nations, BRICS and the SCO to jointly safeguard world peace and prosperity, said Lavrov. ^ top ^

China's foreign minister meets Japanese counterpart ahead of war anniversary statement (SCMP)
2015-08-07
Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida met yesterday before the release of a statement to be issued by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war. With signs that bilateral ties are thawing, China is keeping close tabs on what Abe will say in the statement. Abe is considering releasing his statement on August 14, a government source said on Wednesday. Japan will mark the anniversary of its surrender in the war on August 15. Beijing, which suffered Japanese wartime aggression before and during the second world war, is watching to see if Abe waters down apologies issued by previous Japanese governments. Kishida met Wang on the sidelines of a series of regional meetings in Kuala Lumpur involving the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its dialogue partners, including Japan, China and the United States. The ministers' meeting also took place amid rising tensions in the East and South China Seas. Japan unveiled last month a map and aerial photos of 12 offshore structures as proof of China's unilateral gas field development near the median line between its shoreline and that of Japan in the East China Sea. Japan has criticised China for going against a 2008 accord struck between the two nations on joint gas development in the area. ^ top ^

China 'has halted reclamation works in disputed South China Sea' (SCMP)
2015-08-07
China has stopped reclamation work in the South China Sea, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday in Beijing's latest bid to calm tensions with its neighbours over the disputed waters after blunt exchanges with Washington on the matter. Wang's remarks came as the territorial disputes dominated a high-level regional security summit, in which some Southeast Asian nations described China's construction in the region as destabilising. "China has already stopped," Wang said on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum. "You look, who is building? Take a plane and look for yourself." Wang called on countries in the region to speed up talks on how claimant states should conduct themselves in the waters. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea; the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. Tensions mounted as China started reclamation and building an air strip in the contested waters that could be used for military purposes. Wang's remark was seen to ease tensions, but Southeast Asian diplomats said they remained concerned. Philippine foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said China had stopped because it had already formed its new islands. "China announced they are moving on to phase two, which is construction of facilities on the reclaimed features. The Philippines views these activities as destabilising," Jose said. Japan's senior foreign vice-minister Minoru Kiuchi "voiced deep concern over unilateral actions that … heighten tensions in the South China Sea, including large-scale land reclamation, the construction of outposts and their use for military purposes". A diplomatic source said Wang told his Southeast Asian counterparts that China would press on with construction on the new islands, and the projects would include lighthouses and medical and rescue facilities. The foreign ministry said in June that some of the reclamation near the Spratly Islands had been completed, and that Beijing would start construction mainly for meeting civilian demands but also for "satisfying the necessary military defence needs". Washington says Beijing has reclaimed more than 1,200 hectares in the last 18 months. In blunt but diplomatic terms on the sidelines of the Asean summit, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Wang suggested that efforts to ease tensions over competing claims remained a contentious work in progress. Kerry urged China to end its provocative land reclamation projects, but Wang sent a strong message that those without claims should allow the claimants to settle the matter on their own. Renmin University foreign relations expert Shi Yinhong said that by stressing China had halted reclamation, Wang was toning down the debate, creating a positive atmosphere for President Xi Jinping's trip to the United States next month. "[But] after Xi finishes his visit, I believe tensions will resume as both Beijing and Washington will not give up their core interests in the South China Sea." ^ top ^

Chinese FM rejects Philippine, Japanese, U.S. claims on South China Sea issue (Xinhua)
2015-08-07
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear China's stance on the South China Sea issue on Thursday, rejecting the claims of the Philippines, Japan and United States. Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Wang said China felt imperative to speak the truth and make clear its stance as the South China Sea issue was raised by some countries at the ARF and the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting earlier. "First of all, the general situation in the South China Sea is stable, and the possibility of a major conflict simply doesn't exist," he said. "Therefore, China is against any unconstructive words and deeds that exaggerate differences and stand-off, and create tensions. They do not comply with facts at all." China has the same concern as other countries over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as most of China's merchandise is transported by the Sea, the Chinese minister said, noting that freedom of navigation there is very important to China, too. Wang said, "China has always held the stance that parties enjoy freedom of navigation and flyover in the South China Sea according to international laws. China is willing to work with other parties in keeping freedom of navigation and flyover in the South China Sea." With regard to the disputes over the Nansha Islands, Wang pointed out, "It is an old problem." Islands in the South China Sea are China's territories as China is the first country to discover and name the islands, he emphasized. The Chinese minister said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of World War II, and 70 years ago China took back Nansha and Xisha Islands, which had been illegally occupied by Japan. Highlighting that the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, on which the post-war international order is founded, demanded Japan return the territories it had stolen from China, Wang said[…]. After independence, the Philippines' domestic laws and relevant treaties have all reaffirmed the legal effects of the above- mentioned three treaties and once again expressively defined that the west limit of the Philippine territory is 118 degrees east longitude, Wang said. "But after 1970, the Philippines illegally occupied eight islands and reefs in China's Nansha Islands through four military operations. […] The Chinese minister contended that Manila should know that China has already issued a statement in 2006 that it does not accept the arbitration under the provisions of section 298 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is China's legitimate right under the law. While knowing that it is impossible for China to accept any result of arbitration, the Philippines still insisted on pushing forward the so-called arbitration in violation of the DOC and the agreement with China to settle the issue bilaterally. "There is only one possible explanation to this, that is it intends to confront China," he said. "The Philippine people should know the truth, and the country's future should not be hijacked by a minority of people." However, the Chinese minister stressed that the door is still open for dialogue. "I believe as long as the two sides sit down and talk seriously, there will always be a solution to the problem, " he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

2022 Games to push economic reforms (Global Times)
2015-08-03
Beijing's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics will bring more investment opportunities, create new impetus to curb air pollution and help push economic reforms, analysts say. The Chinese capital, along with its partner city Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, beat Kazakhstan's Almaty on Friday for its "focus on sustainability, legacy and transparency," according to the International Olympic Committee. "By accelerating the construction of Olympic venues, local authorities will open up more sectors to private investment to boost development," Guan Qingyou, an economist at Minsheng Securities, said in a research note sent to the Global Times on Sunday. Beijing will become the first city ever to stage both Summer and Winter Games. The Games are expected to help upgrade the transportation network in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The Zhangjiakou airport, which opened in 2013, will be expanded in the near future thanks to the Games, to a capacity of 200,000 passengers every year. The construction of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail service, an integral part of the government's Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Intercity Rail Master Plan, will be completed by early 2019, the Xinhua News Agency reported Friday. Enhance tourism - Zhang Wuming, director of the regional strategy research center at the Beijing-based FangTang Think Tank, told the Global Times the country's plans to develop a winter sports industry will enhance Zhangjiakou's reputation as a tourist destination by upgrading its transportation system and facilities, such as hotels and restaurants. The city has 33 three-star or higher-rated hotels and the number of similar hotels is expected to exceed 20 in Chongli county alone by 2020, which will be able to accommodate over 20,000 people daily and up to 4 million visitors annually, according to the website of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee. Besides a ski area in Chongli county, local authorities have begun a 6.8-billion-yuan ($1.10 billion) project to develop an industrial park in the city's high-tech development zone, according to an announcement on the website of the Zhangjiakou Development and Reform Commission in April. Zhang said that compared to Zhangjiakou, Beijing will use the event to showcase its economic and political reforms. "By working with foreign sponsors and organizations, people will realize that the Chinese government is trying to improve its level of transparency and efficiency," Zhang said. The 2022 Winter Olympic Games will also compel Beijing to clean up its air, analysts said. China launched a plan in February 2012 to lower the key air pollutants by 30 percent than in 2010, with PM10 concentrations dropping to 80 microgram per cubic meter and PM2.5 levels to 50 microgram per cubic meter. "2015 data shows that it is possible to reach the goal in advance since we have to fulfill our promise on air quality for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Authorities need to better enforce the new environmental laws, close or renovate polluting enterprises and develop renewable sources of energy," Yang Fuqiang, senior adviser on climate and energy of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Global Times.It also needs neighboring regions, especially Shanxi Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to help curb pollution, Niu Fengrui, an expert on city planning and development at the Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. ^ top ^

China will expand medical insurance to alleviate 'poverty by illness' (SCMP)
2015-08-03
The mainland will expand medical insurance to cover all critical illnesses for all urban and rural residents by the end of the year, the State Council said yesterday, the latest step in a plan to fix a health care system that has sparked public discontent. The council said half of the medical costs would be covered by insurance in an effort to "more effectively reduce the burden of medical expenses", in a statement posted on the government's website. President Xi Jinping's government has touted access to affordable health care as a key platform of his administration, underscoring the importance of meeting the needs of the nation's population of almost 1.4 billion. Many mainlanders often complain of large out-of-pocket health care expenses because of low levels of insurance coverage. Many people say the cost of serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes can bankrupt households under the existing system. The aim of expanding the country's health insurance was to "effectively alleviate poverty caused by illness" and to build a strong universal health care system, the council said. Since 2009, the mainland has spent 3 trillion yuan on health care reform. But even with that investment, the mainland health care system still struggles with a scarcity of doctors, attacks by patients on medical staff and a fragmented drug distribution and retail market. Economists say it is crucial for the mainland to improve the quality of its health care if it wishes to remake its economy and boost domestic consumption. They say a stronger safety net will encourage mainlanders to spend more and save less. The mainland's health care spending is set to hit US$1 trillion by 2020, up from US$357 billion in 2011, according to multinational management consultancy McKinsey & Co. That is thanks to a rapid inflow of money from private insurers, hospital operators and other investors. ^ top ^

China's military needs to 'upgrade weaponry, extend surveillance into western Pacific' (SCMP)
2015-08-03
China's People's Liberation Army needs to broaden its air surveillance and attack capabilities to the western Pacific including the area near Japan to ensure its command of the air, according to an official study. A PLA report on air strategy emphasises the need to develop and enhance nine types of “strategic equipment” such as a new type of strategic bomber and a ground-based air interceptor system with an eye specifically toward the United States, which is strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The expansion of China's navy, such as its building of a second aircraft carrier, is attracting attention, but the report by the Air Force Command Academy shows that the country's air force has also started developing a similar expansion strategy. As a result, conflict over the sea with the United States could deepen further. The academy, a think tank in Beijing of an air force leadership training organisation, prepared the report in November last year. Reports by the academy have previously served as policy guidelines. It lists the United States, Japan, Taiwan, India and Vietnam as “threats” in its military airspace until the year 2030. It proposes broadening the scope of surveillance from a “first island chain” linking Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines and one of China's defence lines in the open ocean to a “second island chain” linking the Izu Island chain, Guam and New Guinea. The report affords a glimpse into the Chinese military's confidence in thwarting the US military, which has been critical of China's controversial land reclamation activities in the South China Sea. It mentions enhancing the ability to attack US bases on the China side of the second archipelago line with strategic bombers and “deter U.S. military intervention” in the event of a defence operation involving Chinese islands. The nine types of strategic equipment also include a high-speed air-launched cruise missile, a large transport plane, an airship that moves in the upper atmosphere, a next-generation fighter, unmanned attack aircraft, air force satellites and precision-guided bombs. The report proposes cooperation between the air force and navy to enhance the air defence capability in the air defence identification zone that China established over the East China Sea two years ago and stresses the need to boost joint training. The report also places emphasis on developments in space and missile programmes. It says the air force would be put in charge of a space unit to be established in the future and that careful examination was needed regarding the form it would take. ^ top ^

Vice-Premier leads Games bidders back from Kuala Lumpur (Xinhua)
2015-08-03
Vice-Premier Liu Yandong led the Beijing Winter Olympic Games bid team back home from Kuala Lumpur Sunday afeternoon after the Chinese capital was awarded the 2022 Winter Games. The vice-premier and her team were met at Capital International Airport by 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, Guo Jinlong, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor Yang Jing and a group of ranking officials, along with 500 people from all walks of life. Speaking at a ceremony in honor of the delegation, Liu gave a brief review of the team's work in Kuala Lumpur and said China will fulfill all the commitments and witness the advent of a new phase in the development of the Olympic winter sports and in the promotion of the Olympic spirit. Liu also pledged that China would work hard to prepare for an athlete's centered, sustainable and economical Games in 2022 in seven years to come. Guo, also Beijing's Party chief, give his thanks to the bid team and noted that the successful bidding also marked a beginning of preparations for the 2022 Games. Guo also expressed his determination and confidence about presenting a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Winter Olympics. Beijing won 44 nods against Almaty's 40 in the IOC voting with one abstention last Firday, becoming the first ever city to host both summer and winter Olympics. ^ top ^

Winter Olympic Games venues in China 'pose threat to Beijing nature reserve' (SCMP)
2015-08-04
Outdoors enthusiasts have expressed concern that alpine sports venues might be built inside a nature reserve in suburban Beijing after the city was named host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Construction of the sites and future snow-making, they say, could damage an important "ecological barrier" that helps Beijing - a victim of chronic air pollution - ward off sandstorms. While the celebration of Beijing's victory in bidding for the Winter Games was still underway on the weekend, hikers in Beijing waved goodbye in online forums to one of their favourite sites: the Haituo mountain range that straddles the city's border with Hebei province. The range comprises two peaks - Da (Big) Haituo and Xiao (Little) Haituo. Those concerned about the project found in official bidding documents that the 2,198-metre high Xiao Haituo, in Beijing's Yanqing county, was the preferred site for downhill skiing events for the Games. Trails for sledding events will be built lower down, at about the 1,000 metre mark. An assessment by the International Olympic Committee last year said the venues and the Olympic Village at Yanqing would be "adjacent to the 4,600 hectare Songshan National Nature Reserve" and is part of the same mountain ecosystem with nearby ranges. "This would impose a number of environmental requirements that would have to be taken into consideration during the detailed planning phase," the assessment, which includes two photos, reads. But the hikers were quick to discover some of the sites would be built inside the Songshan nature reserve, one of Beijing's two national nature reserves, after comparing IOC photos, satellite images and official geological positions of the reserve
Their online posts with detailed information were relayed over the weekend on major social media sites. Many internet users questioned why the Olympic venues had to be built inside a nature reserve. But the posts were later deleted by censors. Songshan nature reserve had "the best-preserved ecological system" in Beijing's northwest, and played an important role in conserving water resources, warding off wind and sand, and purifying the air, according to the reserve's official website. A frequent hiker surnamed Guo said the mountains offered unique views at different altitudes because of the area's rich biodiversity. "But we may not be able to see the same Haituo if winter sports venues are built there," he said. Building ski trails will involve removing trees and grading the land into suitable runs, while intensive snow-making - the area receives an average snow depth of only 5cm - will cause damage to soil and vegetation, according to previous studies. While the Beijing Olympic Committee could not be reached for comment, a Songshan reserve employee said by phone that it would be closed to all visitors from October 15 "in preparation for the Winter Olympics", but refused to say whether venues would be built within the reserve. A Xinhua video report in February 2014 said the Songshan reserve would host the skiing and sledding events if Beijing's bid for the Games was successful.Annie Zhu, a Beijing-based environmental consultant and frequent hiker, said "the authorities need to know that the world is watching the country's green promises for such iconic events". ^ top ^

China to realize nationwide electricity coverage (China Daily)
2015-08-04
China is planning to bring electricity to the last people in Qinghai province who remain off the grid, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA) on Monday. Around 39,800 people in Qinghai province will get access to basic electricity, said Liu Qi, vice chief of the NEA, giving no other details such as the date when the project will be completed. The NEA recently decided to provide electricity to the high altitude areas with harsh natural conditions and a sparse population. Power grid work is high on the rural agenda because it does not just improve people's lives, but sustains infrastructure investment and boosts growth.
The National Energy Administration announced on July 7 that it would spend 92.6 billion yuan this year on upgrades, with 20 billion yuan coming from fiscal funds and the rest financed through bank loans. China sees infrastructure investment as a route to growth. The Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Monday that nearly 900 billion yuan worth of investments on roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure projects were approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in the first half of 2015. ^ top ^

Reshuffle brings in younger officers (China Daily)
2015-08-04
The latest round of appointments in a major military reshuffle has brought in younger officers, many of who mare in charge of political work, up to the level of deputy military command. The reshuffle involved at least 16 officers who were almost all born between 1955 and 1959, with at least three born after 1960, Beijing Youth Daily quoted insiders as saying on Monday. One of those three, Liu Zhenli, 51, the former commander of the 38th Army, became the new chief of staff of China's Armed Police Force and the youngest officer at his command level, according to available information, the newspaper said. The high-level changes included the army, navy, air force and military academies. Around 70 percent of the officers involved are in charge of political work, the newspaper reported. The report came after the Central Military Commission promoted 10 senior military and armed police officers to general, the highest rank for officers in active service. The promotions were announced on Friday, the eve of the 88th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. PLA navy Political Commissar Miao Hua, born in 1955, became the youngest of 38 generals in service in China. These changes also came in parallel with the military's anti-graft campaign, which has so far removed 40 senior officers, as well as China's increased efforts to modernize its forces. Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, said the reshuffle reflected the military's continuing efforts to develop a younger force with a stronger educational background. It would contribute to the military's reform, he added. President Xi Jinping, who is chairman of the Central Military Commission, has said that military reform should be guided by the objective of building a strong army and should ensure the Party's absolute leadership over the military. Xi also heads a leading group pushing deepening reform of national defense and the military. The reshuffle showed that the military is politically stable after a series of high-profile scandals, and the changes of the officers in charge of political work would further strengthen such stability, Li added. Two former vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, have been expelled from the Party. Guo's case has been decided to transfer to judicial organs and Xu died of cancer in March. ^ top ^

5 killed, 4 missing in NW China flood (Global Times)
2015-08-04
Five people were confirmed dead and four others remained missing after they were swept away by heavy-rain triggered flood in northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Monday, local authorities said Tuesday. Thirteen people were washed away from a riverside restaurant at Xiaoyuhe Village in Chang'an District of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, at around 5:15 p.m. Four were rescued. The Xi'an Municipal Meteorological Observatory issued a yellow alert for storm at 4:20 p.m. on Monday, warning that torrential rain may cause landslides and floods. The precipitation at Xiaoyuhe Village was recorded at 145.7 mm, the highest over the past 30 years, according to rescuers. More than 50 stranded tourists and villagers have been relocated to safe place, said Liang Bo, a firefighter participating in the rescue. More than 200 policemen, firefighters, and local residents are still searching for the missing. ^ top ^

Shenzhen airport punished for poor handling of flight delays that caused angry passengers to misbehave (SCMP)
2015-08-04
China's civil aviation authority has sternly censured Shenzhen airport and two airlines operating in it over their poor management of large-scale flight delays. The Civil Aviation Administration said on its website on Monday that as punishment, it would stop accepting the Shenzhen Baoan International Airport's applications for new flight routes, to increase flights and offer air charter services. The penalties, which took effect this month, will last until the end of the year, it said. The administration also named China United Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines in its criticism. Since the second half of last year, large-scale flight delays in Shenzhen had triggered several incidents with “significant social impact”, the authority said. It gave the example of a four-hour delay of a China United Airlines flight departing Shenzhen for Beijing in May, during which a passenger opened the plane's emergency door. That same month, passengers on a delayed Shenzhen Airlines flight broke into the jet bridge and in another incident, passengers on another delayed flight from the same airline arrived at the plane before the flight crew appeared, the statement said. Also in May, passengers on a China Southern Airlines flight smashed a counter at the boarding gate after a four-hour delay. The administration said investigators into the incidents found a lack of smooth coordination and effective communication to deal with flight delays. It called for airlines and airports across the country to better cope with large-scale flight delays and avoid similar incidents. ^ top ^

Online forum shut down for anti-CPC comments (Global Times)
2015-08-04
A Chinese online forum was shut down on Sunday after including posts against the Communist Party of China (CPC), slandering and defaming State leaders and distorting Chinese history. Some Netizens report the forum "Naba" on Baidu tieba, a popular online chatroom, on July 28 and demanded that the forum be banned for its anti-China rhetoric, delinquency and personal information leaks, China Youth Daily reported. Forums like "Naba" use teenagers as pawns of overseas anti-China forces to launch a "color" revolution. The public should be highly wary of online subversion activities, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said on its official Weibo on Monday, adding that wiping out violent forces online concerns national security. The MPS' statement was reposted over 6,000 times as of press time. Zhang Yiwu, a Peking University professor, told the Global Times that many extreme ideas from such forums are similar to those used by the Islamic State group to induce young people to participate in jihad. "Many young people, who feel empty and lonely, make extremist comments for personal satisfaction," he added. "Some vicious powers have been organizing teenagers online to promote Western ideology … Hostile Western forces focus on young Chinese teenagers in their attempt to overthrow the CPC," said an opinion piece of news website youth.cn. It added that such forces deceive the young and even threaten violence if they refuse to follow. A 17-year-old man, Hu Jusen from Weihai, Shandong Province, said he was beaten up by a group over his patriotic views on "Naba" on July 22, Shandong-based news website dzwww.com reported Sunday. In February, China's top Internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), banned the use of malicious content in netizens' usernames, avatars and profiles across all Internet services. Avatars and usernames should not include information that violates the Constitution or the country's laws, subverts State power or undermines national security and sovereignty. ^ top ^

China includes civil law codification in legislation plan (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
China has added the formulation of a civil law code to its five-year legislation plan. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's national legislature, on Wednesday published an adjusted legislative plan which includes 34 additional items for lawmakers' consideration. The NPC Standing Committee in 2013 announced an original plan to discuss 68 bills in the following five years and Wednesday's adjustment has taken the total number to 102. Among the 102 items, 76 are scheduled for discussion within the term of the 12th NPC Standing Committee. Another 26 are set to be drafted and submitted for discussion "when conditions are ready". A total of 14 out of the 102 items have been passed since the announcement of the plan with an additional nine submitted for review. The new items added also include formulation or amendment of laws on elections, corruption, national security, counter-espionage, terrorism and overseas NGOs as well as a law requiring officials to pledge their allegiance to the Constitution when assuming office. Research will be conducted into possible legislation on matters such as economic security, social credit and aerospace. ^ top ^

Officials required to lecture on Xi Jinping's speeches, socialism in colleges each semester (Global Times)
2015-08-06
Chinese officials from the city level should give political science lectures to university students at least once every semester, authorities said Wednesday. Officials are required to submit their lecture and teaching materials to local publicity departments two weeks before the lecture, and authorities will conduct a survey following the lecture, according to guidelines jointly issued by the Ministry of Education and the publicity and organization departments of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Officials will be touching on socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream as well as key speeches of President Xi Jinping, the guidelines said. It also require officials to respond to the concerns of students and faculty "both on theory and in practice," and help students distinguish right from wrong in terms of ideology and political theory. All university students across China should attend these lectures at least once every semester. The lectures are part of the Party's mass campaign and could "help bridge the gap and build trust between students and the Party, and help students stay focused on their socialist goals and social responsibilities," the guidelines added. It could also help improve the image of officials, according to the guidelines, especially on officials at the provincial level. Apart from lectures, officials are also encouraged to organize forums or seminars in schools. Chinese universities have been urged to strengthen ideological education and champion Marxism, traditional culture, socialist core values and the Chinese Dream since January, while Xi said in a speech in August 2013 that colleges should be turned into the breeding grounds of Marxist studies. Education Minister Yuan Guiren told at a meeting on college education in January that no textbooks that espouse Western values should be allowed to enter the classroom. He also asked college officials to have more oversight over textbooks and materials directly taken from Western countries, the Xinhua News Agency reported. ^ top ^

Summit season begins in Beidaihe for China's Communist Party leaders (SCMP)
2015-08-06
Leaders of China's ruling Communist Party have gathered in the seaside resort of Beidaihe for closed-door talks to set the agenda for major issues. Liu Yunshan, Politburo Standing Committee member and Secretariat head, met leading academics and researchers on behalf of President Xi Jinping in the resort town in Hebei province on Wednesday, Xinhua reported. The authorities never formally announce the start of the Beidaihe summit but yesterday's meeting was one signal that China watchers generally take as marking its start. In all, 54 experts, including scientists, engineers and social scientists, were invited to Beidaihe this year, bringing the total since 2001 to 800, the report said. The informal summit is attended by present and retired leaders each summer and is used to work out major policy decisions for the coming year. The South China Morning Post reported last week that this year's summit would be held earlier due to urgent issues, such as the economic slowdown and the stock market turmoil. Xi's scheduled visit to the United States in September was also a reason for the change, sources said. Apart from the slowdown and share rout, the leaders are also expected to discuss state-owned enterprise reform, the draft of the next five-year plan, relations with the United States and Japan, the corruption crackdown and personnel arrangements in preparation for the semi-leadership transition at the 19th party congress in 2017. In previous years, the conclaves were usually held around August 10, between the mid-year meeting of the Politburo and the party's Central Committee's plenum in the autumn. The tradition of summer meetings at Beidaihe dates back to 1953, when the top state leaders decided to escape the summer heat of Beijing. ^ top ^

China has promised I can return, says Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei (SCMP)
2015-08-06
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said in an interview published on Wednesday that the Chinese authorities had returned his passport with almost no strings attached and promised him he could return to the country. Ai travelled to Munich in Germany last week after having his passport returned, four years after it was confiscated, for a medical check-up and to see his young son. In an interview with the Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the dissident artist said the Chinese authorities now had a more positive attitude towards him. “They know that I want to make China into a better country, that I am concerned about the young generation,” Ai was quoted as saying. “There is a basis of trust, otherwise they would not allow me, the former enemy of the state, my exhibitions; otherwise they would not have returned my passport.” Asked under what conditions his passport was returned, he replied that “there were almost none”, without elaborating. “They promised that I could come back, which was very important to me. They said, 'you are a free person',” he said. Ai said that an anti-corruption campaign led by President Xi Jinping was creating “enormous tension”, with authorities keen not to lose control and intervening at the smallest sign of unrest, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. But the artist added that the campaign was “really necessary”. Ai also said that he had to be cautious and to work with the situation. “That is much more difficult than vilifying opponents,” he said. The artist said he wanted “not just to criticise, but to offer solutions”. He did not detail his future plans. Ai's trip to Germany came after he was denied a six-month business visa to Britain. The British government reversed that decision on the weekend and apologised for rejecting his application. The dissident artist had been under a travel ban since 2011 after being detained for three months over alleged tax evasion. ^ top ^

Police in China to set up 'stations' to monitor big internet, website firms (SCMP)
2015-08-06
China is planning to set up "cybersecurity police stations” at major internet companies and for websites so authorities can move more quickly against illegal online behaviour, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement. Police should take a leading role in online security and work closely with internet regulators, the deputy minister, Chen Zhimin, told a conference in Beijing. "We will set up cyber security police stations inside important website and internet firms so that we can catch criminal behaviour online at the earliest possible point," Chen said, according to the statement. The authorities have been tightening control over the domestic internet in recent years and have at times admonished social media companies like Tencent Holdings and Sina Corp for failing to move quickly enough to remove pornography, scams, rumours or politically-sensitive content. The government published a draft cyber-security law last month consolidating its control over data, with significant potential consequences for internet service providers and multinational firms doing business in the country. The law will strengthen user privacy protection from hackers and data resellers, but elevates the government's powers to obtain records on, and block dissemination of, private information deemed illegal. “As the country enters the internet age, network security has become a national security issue and social stability issue, important to economic development and a serious day-to-day working issue for citizens,” the ministry said in the statement. The new measures would help protect personal information as well as helping prevent online theft, fraud and rumour spreading, it said. The largely rubber stamp parliament passed a sweeping national security law last month that tightened government control in politics, culture, the military, the economy, technology and the environment. Cybersecurity has been an irksome area in relations with economic partners like the United States and the European Union, which view many recently proposed rules as unfair to foreign companies. ^ top ^

China's army tests loyalty of civilian personnel (Xinhua)
2015-08-07
China has regulated background checks of civilian personnel working within the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to ensure absolute loyalty and reliability. Those who have participated in or supported violence, terrorism or religious extremism will not be considered qualified for the service. Those convicted of criminal offences or who have been subject to administrative detention are also ineligible to serve, according to the PLA Daily, a military newsheet, on Thursday. Also disqualified are those with close contact to overseas organizations, or persons with "complicated" political backgrounds. The paper said that although civilian personnel are not on active duty, they shoulder great responsibilities. PLA officers cited in the article said civilians must be firm in faith and follow the lead of the Communist Party of China at all times, in all circumstances. The regulation addresses the challenges brought about by an increasing number of army civilian personnel and their diverse backgrounds. The regulation was drafted by the General Political Department of the PLA and the Ministry of Public Security. ^ top ^

SPP rails against illegal investigations (Xinhua)
2015-08-07
The Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) has promised punishment for law enforcers who use illegal means like extracting confessions through torture while investigating dereliction of duty cases. Law enforcers acting without authorization are prohibited from using coercive measures to restrict personal liberty, the SPP said on Thursday. It warned law enforcers against using illegal means to put suspects under residential surveillance, or illegally sealing, seizing or freezing assets. Law enforcers are strictly forbidden from obstructing suspects from seeing their lawyers, while video and audio recording is mandatory for the full length of an interrogation, the SPP said. ^ top ^

China prepares for typhoon Soudelor (Xinhua)
2015-08-07
The government has warned coastal China to prepare for the arrival of typhoon Soudelor. The National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs demanded governments in east and south China activate contingency and early warning plans. Governments of provinces including Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong as well as Shanghai Municipality should closely track the typhoon and make timely public announcements, the ministry said in statement on Thursday. Relief supplies should be readied, it said. Governments should also advise residents to prepare daily supplies for at least one to three days, evacuate those living in areas that might be severely affected, and warn ships to take shelter in harbors, according to the statement. The center of Soudelor, this year's 13th typhoon, was located at 910 km southeast of Taiwan's Hualien County at noon. The National Meteorological Center forecast that Soudelor will move northwestward at a speed of 20 to 25 km per hour with strengthening force and land on the eastern coast of Taiwan between Friday night and Saturday morning.
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Reform to end reliance on drug sales (China Daily)
2015-08-07
Reforms aimed at ending county-level public hospitals relying on drug sales to supplement their incomes will be adopted at all such hospitals nationwide by the end of October. The move was announced by China's top health authority on Thursday. By early this month, 3,297 of these hospitals had made the reforms, accounting for 78.3 percent of such hospitals in China, said Fu Wei, deputy chief for administrative reform at the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The reforms have been introduced at 764 major public hospitals in cities, Fu said. Reforming public hospitals is the core part of a broader overhaul of the national healthcare system. Officials said the reforms are aimed at setting up a modern hospital management system and changing the profit-seeking nature of public hospitals so that they are operated for the public good. A key measure of the reforms is for public hospitals to stop selling drugs for up to 15 percent more than the price they pay for them from pharmaceutical companies. This practice had been adopted by public hospitals for many years. Experts say it encourages hospitals to prescribe more expensive drugs to patients and that selling drugs has contributed to 40 percent of hospitals' income in some areas of China. However, the practice has also been a major contributor to patients' complaints of increasing financial burdens, according to the experts. More than 3,000 county-level public hospitals and 446 city-level ones had stopped the practice by early this month, the commission said. Fu said health authorities will reduce the price of drugs by reforming the drug flow system. To compensate hospitals for the loss of revenue, fees for services provided by medical staff members will be increased, Fu said. The commission said that following the reforms to county-level public hospitals, reforms to city-level ones will be launched in 100 cities by the end of the year. ^ top ^

Natural reserves to protect animals, rare plants (China Daily)
2015-08-07
China faces a serious threat of deteriorating land and the extinction of rare animals and plants, though it has formed a basic network of protection zones, the national environmental protection authority said. Ninety percent of the grassland in China has seen varying degrees of degradation or desertification, and 40 percent of the major wetlands are facing the threat of degradation, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Thursday. In addition, 10.9 percent of higher plants and 21.2 percent of vertebrates face serious challenges in fighting off extinction, and some rare animals have failed to get effective protection, according to research from the ministry and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Chen Jining, minister of environmental protection, urged the environmental authority to strengthen protection with clearer mechanisms and processes, and to conduct large projects to protect diversity. China has already taken a series of measures to protect biodiversity, though it still faces threats, the ministry said. "We have formed a basic network to protect biological diversity with natural reserves as the core," Chen said. Since 1956, when the first natural reserves were built, China has established 2,729 natural reserves including forest, wetland and geological parks. Of those, reserves related to forest ecosystem account for more than 1,400. Natural reserves to protect animals, rare plants Protection zones on land cover 1.7 million square kilometers, representing around 18 percent of the country's area. Eighty-five percent of wild animals and plants are under protection. However, the ministry said it has heard concerns from many experts on the management of nature reserves who say that the protection is not sufficient and the reserves put their sole focus on protecting animals and plants. The ministry agreed with experts that it is more important to conduct research and make the reserves into bases of scientific research and education centers to encourage public participation. The ministry has inspected almost all the natural reserves and is preparing an evaluation. In addition, the departments of environmental protection and forestry and other authorities have released guidelines to strengthen management and reduce construction inside the reserves. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing's first private mental health clinic opens (Global Times)
2015-08-03
Beijing's first private mental health clinic opened on Sunday, breaking the monopoly of state-owned hospitals. The clinic in downtown Beijing is the first private mental health medical institution approved by the health authorities, the Beijing Daily reported on Monday. At present there are a number of psychological counseling agencies in the city that only provide counseling services but not medical treatment. The clinic is also China's first mental health clinic to combine online and in-person services. Fifteen mental health experts from major Beijing hospitals will offer medical services at the clinic as part of a move to encourage doctors to serve patients in multiple hospitals and clinics. China had 4.3 million severely mentally ill patients on official record at the end of 2014. A 2015-2020 plan for mental health work set a goal to manage the conditions of more than 80 percent of people with severe mental illnesses by 2020, with treatment covering at least 80 percent of schizophrenia cases. To address a grave lack of mental health professionals, the plan encourages health institutes to set up psychology clinics and strengthen staff training, raising the projected number of doctors specializing in mental disorders to 40,000 by 2020. ^ top ^

Beijing counts down for war anniversary celebration (China Daily)
2015-08-05
Beijing will limit cars on streets and industrial production to ensure blue skies as the city counts down for the Sept 3 military parade commemorating World War II victory. Cars will be allowed on alternating days based on odd or even license plate numbers from Aug 20 to Sept 3, said the municipal government on Monday. Petrochemical, building materials, printing and furniture plants in the capital will suspend or cut production during this period. Dusty construction work will also be halted. Neighboring provinces will also take steps to cut emissions following experience from ensuring good air quality during the 2008 Olympic Games and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings last year. Similar measures were adopted during the two large events. Chinese netizens even coined a phrase "APEC Blue" to describe the clear blue sky. Environmental and meteorological departments in Beijing and nearby regions will jointly carry out medium-to-long term air quality forecasts two or three times, providing data for considering preventive measures. The moves also aim to guarantee the air quality for the IAAF World Championships, which will be held in Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest stadium from Aug 22 to 30. Beijing has closed 185 polluting factories and its neighbor Hebei Province has dismantled nearly 700 coal-burning boilers this year in line with their annual pollution control plans. China has scheduled a series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, culminating in a military parade on Sept 3 in Beijing. The parade will feature domestic and foreign troops, and China's latest weaponry. Receptions and a gala will be held in Beijing to mark the occasion. Events will also be staged in other parts in China. Sept. 3 this year was set as a national holiday by the Chinese government. The official logo for the commemoration highlights a striking, dominant red number "70" in the center. Above the "70" five doves fly over and behind it the Great Wall spreads in the shape of letter "V." The "V" symbolizes victory and the unity of Chinese nation, while the five pigeons demonstrate the memory of history and the aspiration for peace, representing people from the five continents united and moving together towards a better future after experiencing "blood and fire". Workers have repaired or replaced 215 damaged stone slabs on the roads at Tian'anmen Square. New golden sidewalk guardrails have also been installed near the square. Other renovation work is under way along the Chang'an Avenue, which passes the north of the Tian'anmen Square. The Tian'anmen Rostrum, a landmark structure near the square, will remain closed to tourists between Aug 1 to Sept 7. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai stop for Swiss marine pollution expedition (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
A Swiss-led trimaran yacht on a research expedition studying the impact of plastic pollution on the world's oceans arrived in Shanghai Wednesday. Shanghai is the "Race for Water Odyssey" expedition's only stop in China. Marco Simeoni, the man behind the project, said millions of tonnes of plastic waste end up in the sea every year and people must take action to preserve the planet's most important ecosystem. The yacht, 21 meters long and 17 meters wide, set sail on March 15 from France. It will focus on five trash "vortexes" where waste accumulates in large quantities. The research team, who are collecting samples and analyzing data while at sea, will conduct seminars in Shanghai to raise awareness on ocean protection. The yacht's next stop is south Africa. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Over 800 volunteers to work in Tibet (Global Times)
2015-08-03
More than 800 volunteers have been sent to southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region this year to support education, medicine and agricultural production in underdeveloped areas. A total of 820 volunteers, most of whom are university graduates, were selected from more than 10,000 applicants, since the recruitment was launched in May from 134 universities nationwide, the Tibet regional committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) announced Monday. Their volunteer service usually lasts one to two years. They work in education, medical care, agriculture, poverty alleviation and other areas, the committee said. The committee arranged a three-day training for the volunteers ahead of their mission to the region in order to help them adapt to the work and life there. The training will focus on health and hygiene on the plateau, history of Tibet, and briefing of the region's current situation. Duan Zehua, a volunteer from the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, said grassroots work experience in Tibet will provide a good chance for volunteers to improve themselves and realize the value of life. China initiated a campaign in 2003 to encourage more university student volunteers to work in China's underdeveloped western regions to promote development. To date, nearly 3,702 volunteers have served in Tibet since 2003, and 1,035 of them have stayed to work in Tibet after their services. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Chinese Uygurs deported from Thailand 'attacked police' at airport 'fearing execution' (SCMP)
2015-08-05
Ethnic Uygurs from China "attacked Chinese and Thai police officers" at an airport in Thailand in an attempt to flee before they were repatriated last month, according to a state media report. Some of the 109 illegal immigrants sent back said the fight broke out because they had been deceived into believing they would be executed on their return, state-run Xinjiang Daily reported on Tuesday. But a Uygur exile group dismissed the report as propaganda designed to distract attention from human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Beijing has previously said Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority in the northwest autonomous region, have illegally fled China in recent years. Rights groups say the migrants are mostly fleeing ethnic violence in Xinjiang and controls on their religion and culture. Beijing has denied the accusations, saying some went to Syria via Southeast Asia and joined terrorist groups. Xinjiang Daily quoted deportees as saying that some of the Uygurs detained in Thailand attacked law enforcement officials while boarding a plane at an unnamed airport in the Southeast Asian country. They were quickly subdued by police and had been staying at a shelter in Xinjiang "with good medical care". The report did not say how many Uygurs fought the police. Two of those repatriated had been allowed to return home after confessing how they managed to flee abroad, the report quoted local police as saying. "Those who were deceived [by the human smugglers] and fled abroad will be handed over to the authorities of their home county for education," Xinjiang deputy police chief Chen Zhuang was quoted as saying. "The smugglers will be penalised in accordance with the law." The details in the report could not be independently verified and the Thai embassy in Beijing could not be reached for comment. Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exile group the World Uygur Congress, said the forced repatriations from Thailand triggered confrontations between the Uygurs and the local police both on their way to and at the airport. "No one wants to return to China because they know they are putting themselves in great danger by doing so," he said. "Most of them were women and children, who have no interest in jihad." He said the Uygurs who were repatriated would be confined at a government-controlled residence and prevented from talking to overseas media. "Beijing is using them [the deportees] as a propaganda tool to divert the attention of the rest of the world from their [the Uygurs'] human rights and religious freedom," he said. State media have repeatedly reported this year that Turkish diplomats and businesspeople in Southeast Asia have helped the illegal migrants obtain Turkish passports. The deportations last month also triggered protests in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country that shares historical and cultural roots with Xinjiang. China has been hit by a series of violent attacks over the past two years that it blames on Islamist separatists from the northwest region. ^ top ^

Xinjiang folks fooled into joining jihad (Global Times)
2015-08-05
Many of the illegal immigrants from China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region deported by Thailand in July expressed regrets and anger for being persuaded by terrorist-related groups to join jihad in the Middle East, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday. Some of them said they had sold all their property to pass through Thailand to Turkey, from where they would have ended up in Iraq or Syria to join terrorist groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic State, reported the Xinjiang Daily on Tuesday. The newspaper interviewed several of the 109 illegal immigrants repatriated from Thailand to China on July 9, still being held by police in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. "I was told that if I don't join jihad I will go to Jahannam ('Hell' in Islam), while a martyr of jihad will go to heaven," said Abbas, an immigrant. "And I wanted to go to heaven." Many of the illegal immigrants were reportedly approached and persuaded by friends or relatives to join jihad overseas. But they were fooled, and when they came back they had nothing left, the paper added. They were told one way of getting to Turkey was to surrender to authorities in a Southeast Asian country, and tell the authorities they were Turkish nationals. The smugglers said Turkish diplomatic personnel would help them migrate to Turkey. "I was told not to bring too many clothes and a cellphone, and to throw away my ID card in Thailand," said Ushour, one of the immigrants detained in Xinjiang. Ushour, who was in the clothing business and raised cows and sheep, used up all his savings to pay the smugglers, according to the report. "We were not properly fed overseas," said Ushour. "I know now that I was deceived and I regret it." Muhemmet Imin, a man who came to Urumqi from southern Xinjiang in 2010 to find a job, said he surrendered the 70,000 yuan ($11,300) his father gave him to start a business to a smuggler. "My father would not touch that money because it was so precious, and now I lost it all." Imin said he had told his father he was going to Turkey to do business. Many of the illegal immigrants were told they would be executed if they returned to China, and some of the immigrants attacked Thai and Chinese police officers when they were escorted onto a flight back to China on July 9, said the report. "Xinjiang police treated us well when we returned," said Sawut, Yasen's wife, who was among those deported from Thailand. The police arranged medical exams and counseling for the immigrants to soften their anxiety. Chen Zhuangwei, Xinjiang deputy police chief, told the Xinjiang Daily that the snakeheads will be charged according to Chinese law, and those who were deceived will be assisted to return to normal life. Wang Guoxiang, an associate professor at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that extremist groups often target two types of people - those struggling financially and those upset with their lives. Shortly after the deportation of the illegal immigrants, the US government referred to them as "refugees" and voiced concerns over "harsh treatment" on their return to China. Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on July 11 that the deportation of the illegal immigrants followed relevant international conventions and bilateral treaties. Chinese police said they suspect that 13 of the illegal immigrants are involved in terrorism. "They [extremist groups] organize the youth, brainwash them, and get them to fight. They are cannon fodder," Tong Bishan, division chief of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security, said in a press conference in July. ^ top ^

Poverty alleviation official in Xinjiang probed for graft (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
An official in charge of poverty alleviation in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is being investigated for suspected "severe violation of discipline," said the top anti-graft body on Wednesday. The official is Zhao Guoming, head of Xinjiang's poverty alleviation office, said the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), citing local graft busters in Xinjiang. Xinjiang has 27 designated "impoverished counties," which receive funding from national poverty alleviation programs each year. ^ top ^

China asks US for help in fighting Islamist militants in Xinjiang region (SCMP)
2015-08-06
China has appealed for US support in fighting Islamist militants in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, saying they are also a threat to the United States. Chinese officials say the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, recruits Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority from Xinjiang, and trains them with extremists in Syria and Iraq with the intent of returning to China to wage holy war. Many foreign experts, however, have questioned whether ETIM exists as the coherent group China claims it is. The threat of terror grows “more complicated and severe by the day”, China's Foreign Ministry said late on Tuesday following a meeting between Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping and Tina Kaidanow, Ambassador-At-Large for the US State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism. “China stressed the serious threat of ETIM and other East Turkestan terror organisations to China, the United States and the international community and requested that the United States vigorously support and coordinate with China in combating the efforts of East Turkestan terrorism forces,” the ministry said. Both sides agreed to combat cyber terrorism and violent extremism and strengthen anti-terrorism intelligence, it added. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Uygurs have illegally crossed the Chinese border in recent years, travelling to Turkey via Southeast Asia. Rights groups say such migrants are fleeing ethnic violence in Xinjiang and Chinese controls on their religion and culture, allegations Beijing denies. Hundreds of people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the last three years, blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants, but Chinese officials have offered little evidence that the violence is linked to ETIM, which Washington deemed a terror group after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Some officials in the US government have privately questioned the extent of the organisation's influence in Xinjiang, although experts note that US rhetoric on the group may be swinging back in favour of Beijing. China has ramped up counter-terrorism efforts following deadly attacks in recent years, including a mass stabbing in March 2014 at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming in which 31 people were killed. The government is on heightened alert ahead of an international athletics event in Beijing this month and a parade also in Beijing in September to mark 70 years since the end of the second world war. “The bottom line is anti-terrorism work must be implemented well to ensure terrorist plots are foiled before they can be carried out,” the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted deputy public security minister Huang Ming as saying. ^ top ^

Xinjiang pushes passport reforms (Global Times)
2015-08-07
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region said it is planning to streamline the procedure for passport application, promising equal treatment to applicants of different ethnicities. "The autonomous region has decided to accelerate passport management reforms and implement a uniform passport policy according to law for all residents applying for a passport," said a report from the official Xinjiang Daily. Getting a passport is often complicated and takes more time in Xinjiang than in other regions, given the rising terrorism threats faced by Xinjiang and its ongoing anti-terrorism campaign. Xinjiang witnessed a year-long campaign targeting terror suspects and extremism since May 2014, and 181 terror groups were busted in the campaign. The campaign was launched after the bombing of a market in Urumqi that killed 39 people. According to the new policy, those who apply for a passport under the category of visiting a family member or friend overseas are no longer required to submit an invitation letter from an overseas address. Instead, applicants are only required to submit a photocopy of the ID card of the person they plan to visit. Those who apply under the business category must submit an enterprise license and an official letter from their employers to justify their trip. However, tax payment and documents showing payment of at least six months of social security fees are no longer part of the new policy, Geng Jie, a Xinjiang-based travel agent who specializes in passport applications, told the Global Times. Those who apply under the tourism and education categories are still required to present a receipt from a travel agency or an acceptance letter from a foreign institution. The report said that aside from streamlining procedures, Xinjiang authorities plan to increase the number of passport offices to meet the demand. The report failed to provide more details. Applicants in Beijing are only required to present an application form, their ID card and household registration document, according to the website of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. The average processing time is 15 days in Xinjiang and 8 to 10 days in Beijing. The extra paperwork required in Xinjiang would make some people turn to a special type of passport—the "travel passport" - which they can acquire through a travel agency in a shorter period of time but must be handed back to authorities every time they complete their overseas trip, Geng said. It is unknown whether any changes will be made to this type of passport. The report also failed to say how the policy will deal with the differences often experienced between Han and Uyghur Chinese in applying for a passport. ^ top ^

Xinjiang opens reporting platform for Internet crime (Xinhua)
2015-08-07
China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday launched an online platform for the public to report illegal and harmful information found on the Internet. People in Xinjiang are encouraged to provide tip-offs related to terror propaganda, religious extremism and online rumors. The Uygur and Kazakh language versions of the platform are also available. People can access the platform through more than 300 websites in Xinjiang as well as through instant messaging services like WeChat and QQ. Xinjiang has around 15,000 registered websites and more than 17 million Internet users. Although the Internet has changed people's work and life, it has also brought security problems. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Former minister urges successor to preserve civil servants' neutrality (SCMP)
2015-08-03
Paul Tang Kwok-wai, the former secretary for the civil service, has urged his successor to safeguard its workers' core values, including political neutrality. And in his first interview since making an abrupt departure from government, Tang also asked political appointees to "have more confidence" in their senior civil servant colleagues. On July 21, the government suddenly announced Tang's retirement from the civil service and that of secretary for home affairs Tsang Tak-sing. In a separate statement, Tang said he had stepped down from his job due to "unforeseeable family circumstances". Following the surprise reshuffle, Tsang's brother, Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, hit out at some "incredibly stupid" government officials for spreading rumours that the departure of the two ministers was due to their unsatisfactory performances. But in a pre-recorded RTHK interview yesterday, Tang said there was "no need to clarify" the speculation about him. "I have no regret for what I did in the last three years. I tried my best in doing my job [such as] maintaining civil servants' core values," Tang said. In recent years, questions have been raised about civil servants' political neutrality amid the social divide over sensitive issues such as political reform and Hong Kong's relationship with the mainland and Beijing. In June, an anonymous group of civil servants placed a newspaper advertisement urging lawmakers to vote down the government's blueprint for the 2017 chief executive election. Some political commentators also queried whether Leung Chun-ying, as a relatively unpopular chief executive, had the civil servants' backing. But Tang said political neutrality remained a core value among civil servants, and that most abided by that rule. "They would not do the government any disservice. … There were cases of civil servants breaching the rule, but we have a disciplinary hearing [system] in place to deal with that," Tang said. He did not elaborate on those cases. On his successor Clement Cheung Wan-ching, Tang said: "I think the most important thing is to maintain the civil servants' system, especially its core values. Things that are effective have to be looked after and protected." He also reminded younger civil servants to bear in mind that it is the political appointees, such as ministers and undersecretaries, who make political decisions, and the civil service's job is to advise and implement policies. "Civil servants present ministers with different proposals and analyses … so ministers should have more confidence in permanent secretaries, who are helping them to implement [measures]," he said, referring to the most senior rank of civil servants. ^ top ^

'Significantly' less positive Hongkongers most worried about threat to freedom, HKU poll finds (SCMP)
2015-08-05
Hongkongers have become “significantly” less positive about society according to a University of Hong Kong survey, which found indicators measuring degree of freedom, prosperity and compliance with rule of law had dropped to their lowest in over 10 years. The Public Opinion Programme, which polled 1,010 people at random by telephone between July 20 and 23, found that the rating of four out of five core social indicators had all slumped. The degree of freedom had dipped the most since the last survey in February – by 0.18 to 6.98 out of 10 – followed by the degree of prosperity. For rule of law, all ratings of its sub-indicators had dropped, including the popularity of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li. Ma's support rating slipped by more than two points to 66. Only the degree of stability recorded an increase. Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the programme, said: “As for the reasons affecting the ups and downs of various indicators, we leave it for our readers to make their own judgment after reading detailed records shown in our 'Opinion Daily' feature page.” The page Chung referred to recorded major events during the polling period. On July 21, Tsang Tak-sing abruptly resigned as home affairs secretary and Paul Tang Kwok-wai stepped down as civil service secretary. Tang cited “unforeseeable family circumstances” for his departure, while Tsang said he was “glad to retire”. ^ top ^

Hong Kong lawmakers spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money on 'gaining election advantage', expense claim forms show (SCMP)
2015-08-06
Lawmakers spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money last year on publicity items that had little to do with their work at the Legislative Council, their expense claim forms have revealed. A political scientist said while such spending was allowed, the money would have been better directed at policy research instead of items to help them achieve an election advantage. A look at expense forms filed to the Legco secretariat found Gary Chan Hak-kan spent HK$109,200 on 14,000 plastic frisbees with a cartoon of himself printed on them. The sum was reimbursed in November. Asked whether the money was well spent, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator said he obtained three quotations before placing the order, and the lowest price was chosen. "The [frisbees] are popular with residents … They are durable and can be used for many years," Chan said on Wednesday. A lawmaker can claim up to HK$2.32 million each year in office operation expenses including staff salaries. Publicity materials are covered by this budget. Ming Pao newspaper reported on Monday that the Civic Party's Claudia Mo Man-ching claimed more than HK$7,000 for a power generator and a tent she purchased in October last year. Mo said the equipment was used for street activities but denied accusations the items were used for Occupy Central. DAB lawmaker Ben Chan Han-pan spent HK$70,000 on calendars for distribution to supporters over the Lunar New Year. "I decided that printing my contacts on a calendar is the best way to let people, especially the elderly who do not know how to surf the internet, find me easily," he said. "To balance the budget, I used my own money to print my work report." Some DAB lawmakers spent less on publicity. Chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing and Christopher Chung Shu-kun jointly claimed HK$24,480 for 15,000 calendars. People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen spent HK$6,000 on printing 10,000 fai chun posters with golden print for the Occupy movement. Dr Dixon Sing Ming, a political scientist at the University of Science and Technology, said the spending patterns were undesirable and inappropriate. "The function of the legislature is to monitor the government and improve its governance, but now the lawmakers have exhausted the resources to sustain their advantage in the upcoming elections," he said. "The money would be better spent on policy research that would actually improve people's livelihoods." ^ top ^

Hong Kong reports more food poisoning cases linked to Horng Ryen Jen sandwiches from Taiwan (SCMP)
2015-08-06
Thirteen more Hong Kong people have fallen ill after eating sandwiches from popular Taiwanese brand Horng Ryen Jen, health authorities said last night. The Centre for Health Protection said the five men and eight women, aged 14 to 53, developed symptoms of food poisong between three and 61 hours after consuming the products at the end of last month. Nine of them had sought medical treatment. One had been admitted to and discharged from hospital, it added. The sandwiches were purchased from a supermarket in Tsim Sha Tsui, exhibition booths in a Wong Tai Sin shopping centre, a stall in a Tsuen Wan shopping mall, a shop in Kwun Tong and a restaurant in Yuen Long. “Prolonged storage of food at room temperature may allow pathogens to grow and produce toxins. Members of the public should avoid consuming cooked or ready-to-eat food that has been kept at room temperature for several hours,” a spokesman for the centre said. Authorities banned imports and sales of the sandwiches on Monday, and so far it has found no such products on sale in the city after inspection. The Centre for Food Safety does not expect further food poisoning cases. A total of 72 people have suffered food poisoning after eating the sandwiches, and three more tested positive for salmonella yesterday, after six did so on Monday. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Manipulative politicians called on to "spare" student protesters in Taiwan (Xinhua)
2015-08-03
Scholars and parents in Taiwan on Friday called on certain political parties and groups to stop taking advantage of student protesters who campaigned against an adjustment to high school curriculum guidelines. Following a break-in on July 22, student activists continued to gather in front of the island's education authority on Thursday and Friday, after one of them committed suicide on Thursday. Though his parents denied any pressure from both the school and the authority, saying their son had suffered depression for a long time, certain political parties made an issue of it and misled students into engaging in illegal protests. The island's education authority made a decision last January to adjust the curriculum guidelines of some textbooks to be implemented in August. The adjustment, which aimed to right some misreadings of the island's history, prompted an outcry among the Democratic Progress Party (DPP), some organizations and high school students. However, the majority of students' parents and public opinions expressed their disagreement with the protest. In the early hours of Friday, a pair of parents wanted to take their son back home, but the young man yelled and pushed his father onto the ground while showing indifference to his kneeling mother. The mother said the students, including her son, were influenced by politicians who used them as a tool for their political agenda. Wang Xiaobo, professor at Shih Hsin University, called on DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen to "give innocent students a break, give Taiwan a break" and stop inciting young people to sacrifice themselves for her own election and political interests. ^ top ^

Soong to run for Taiwan leader (Xinhua)
2015-08-06
Taiwan's People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong Chu-yu said Thursday that he will run for the Taiwan leader. Previously, the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, Hung Hsiu-chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party, former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh and former DPP member and legislator Hsu Jung-shu announced they would run for the office in the election to be held on Jan. 16, 2016. Reading from a statement, Soong promised to "build a framework for the sustainable and peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait," saying a peaceful and stable relationship between Taiwan and the mainland conforms to the common interests of both sides, the Asian-Pacific region and the world. He said people living on both sides of the Strait should deepen communication and enhance mutual trust. Soong was born in the mainland's Hunan Province in 1942 and went to Taiwan with his parents in 1949. In 1999, Soong gave up his KMT membership and ran an unsuccessful bid in 2000 as an independent. He later founded the PFP and has since served as the party chairman. Soong joined the 2004 bid as the running mate of then-KMT Chairman Lien Chan, but lost the election to incumbent Chen Shui-bian. Soong lost the 2012 election again. ^ top ^

'Taiwan independence' biggest threat to cross-straits ties: official (China Daily)
2015-08-07
The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council warned Taiwan on Thursday that maintaining stable development with the Chinese mainland is the right path that will benefit people across the Taiwan Straits and the island's economy. "It must be seen that the forces of 'Taiwan independence' are obstinately and resolutely promoting their separatist position, and this is the biggest threat to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits," Zhang Zhijun, head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a Thursday conference. Taiwan's People First Party's (PFP) Chairman James Soong Chu-yul announced Thursday that he will run for the island's 2016 leader's election. Earlier, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party endorsed its chairwoman, Tsai Ing-wen, to run in the 2016 election while the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) has nominated Hung Hsiu-chu as candidate. Reading from a statement, Soong promised to "build a framework for sustainable and peaceful development across the Taiwan Straits," saying a peaceful and stable relationship between Taiwan and the mainland conforms to the common interests of both sides. He said people living on both sides of the Straits should deepen communication and enhance mutual trust. Soong gave up his KMT membership and ran an unsuccessful bid in 2000 as an independent. He later founded the PFP and has since served as the party chairman. He has already made three unsuccessful attempts to win the election. Chu Li-luan, the KMT chairman, said history shows that splitting supporters of the KMT has proved to be unhelpful in winning the race. He added that the party will put all its efforts into seeking public support. Wang Jianmin, a research fellow with the Taiwan Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that it is very unlikely for Soong to win the election given that he has failed in his previous bids. "Soong could only attract support of a limited number of people who have lost confidence in the KMT. Both parties will find it difficult to win the election and if Tsai wins, it will have a damaging impact on the ties between the island and the Chinese mainland as Tsai proposes 'implicit Taiwan independence,'" he said.  ^ top ^

 

Economy
Activity in China's factories shrinks most in two years, survey suggests, amid slowing economy (SCMP)
2015-08-03
China's factory activity shrank more than initially estimated in July, contracting by the most in two years as new orders fell and dashing hopes that the world's second-largest economy may be steadying, a private survey showed on Monday. The report followed a downbeat official survey on Saturday which showed growth at manufacturing firms unexpectedly stalled, reinforcing views that the cooling economy needs added stimulus even as it faces fresh risks from a stock market slump. Fears of a full-blown market crash have added a new sense of urgency for policymakers in Beijing with many analysts expecting more support measures to be rolled out within weeks. […] The survey showed deteriorating business conditions forced companies to cut staffing levels for the 21st straight month. Factories also had to reduce selling prices to a six-month low due to increasing competition, squeezing profit margins. […]. The official survey focuses more on larger companies. While growth in the services sector picked up slightly, offsetting some of the drag from persistent factory weakness, services companies reported new orders were cooling and said they were cutting jobs at a faster pace. China Glass Holdings on Friday became the latest in a growing list of firms issuing profit warnings due to weakening demand, saying it expected to post a first-half loss. China's slowdown is also forcing many Western companies to take a hard look at their businesses there, leading many to reduce investments, costs and product lines and to tackle increasing bad debts. […] Chinese shares extended early losses on Monday after the activity surveys, while the Australian dollar dipped on fears of weaker China demand for commodities. The People's Bank of China has already cut interest rates four times since November and repeatedly loosened restrictions on bank lending in its most aggressive stimulus campaign since the global financial crisis. Beijing has also intervened heavily in recent weeks to try to stabilise tumbling stock markets, which has raised questions over its commitment to free-market reforms, seen as essential for its planned transition from an export-led economy to one based on consumption and services. While there is little evidence yet that the 30-per cent stock market slump since mid-June has hit spending, analysts say wild price swings will rattle consumer and business confidence and could dampen activity in the financial services sector if Beijing cannot keep investors from fleeing the market. Buffeted by softening investment growth, unsteady domestic and foreign demand and a cooling housing market, China's growth is widely expected to grind to its lowest in a quarter of a century this year at 7 per cent, from 7.4 per cent in 2014. After months of weakness, industrial output, retail sales and investment all grew slightly more than expected in June, raising hopes that earlier policy easing measures were finally starting to take effect. In an acknowledgement of the difficulties that lay ahead, China's Politburo, the decision-making body of the Communist Party, promised last week to step up policy adjustments to keep growth stable. If the stock market steadies, ING's Condon said Beijing would still need a continued turnaround in its housing market to hit its 7 per cent growth target for this year. However, while home sales and prices are showing signs of improving slowly in bigger cities after a year-long slump, a massive overhang of unsold homes could keep real estate under pressure well into next year, deterring developers from starting new construction. ^ top ^

Li signals stronger economic reform (China Daily)
2015-08-04
China's premier has formulated a series of amendments to his blueprint for the economy as he attempts to boost growth and strengthen domestic demand, Zhao Yinan reports. When Premier Li Keqiang greeted New Zealand Governor-General Jerry Mateparae in a Uygur-style room in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last week, he probably didn't expect the high-level bilateral talks to devolve into a question and answer session about China's economic reforms. While it's customary for international leaders to inquire about the latest news on the Chinese economy - it's an issue that has ramifications for all nations, after all - Mateparae probed a little deeper below the surface of GDP growth and discussed the underlying health of the economy. Li's message to his guest, and the world at large, was that implementing reforms is a tough, multifaceted job, but the government is determined to push the changes through, including major reforms such as the reduction of the government's role in the economy and improvements to the financial sector. Li began restructuring the world's second-largest economy when he assumed office in 2013. The reforms, their progress and the chances of success, are at the top of the list of concerns for the central leadership - and other world leaders, given the strength of the Chinese economy in an increasingly interlinked and globalized world. Li is almost halfway through his first five-year term and the reforms are continuing. So far, the signs have been encouraging. In the first half of the year, the economy showed signs of growing robustness, with better-than-expected growth of 7 percent. […] ^ top ^

Regulator to intensify war on speculation (China Daily)
2015-08-04
China's securities regulator has widened efforts to stem the stock market slide by investigating the speculative program trading blamed for the surging market volatility. The move came as the A-share market continued to decline with shrinking turnover and greater volatility amid investors' renewed fears for a second dip after the dramatic sell-off has slashed the benchmark index by some 30 percent since mid-June. The Shanghai Composite Index fell by 1.1 percent on Monday while the ChiNext index that tracks high-growth start-up companies on the Shenzhen bourse fell by 5.5 percent. Nearly 500 stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen tumbled by the 10 percent trading limit. The surge of blue-chip banking shares during afternoon trading helped lift the benchmark index to close above 3,600 points. The China Securities Regulatory Commission has turned its attention to automated program trading, a type of trading strategy that utilizes computer programs to execute buy and sell orders based on predetermined conditions. "Trading irregularities in some stock accounts combined with the risks amplified by program trading have seriously hurt the market stability," the CSRC said in a statement. The securities watchdog said that it has found abnormal and speculative trading that is suspected of having used program trading to distort share prices and mislead investors to make profits. While program trading remains a niche strategy employed by hedge funds and private equity firms, it has drawn growing concerns over its impact on market volatility as the advance of technology and easier access to electronic exchanges offer investors more sophisticated trading tools to play the market. The CSRC's ongoing investigation has also reminded many of the panic "flash crash" of the US stock markets in 2010 that dived 600 points and rebounded in 20 minutes. The volatility was caused by a British trader quickly placing and canceling orders, a practice known as "spoofing" to reap profits. On Monday, the Shanghai Stock Exchange said that it restricted trading of four stock accounts during intra-day trading as they were suspected of disrupting market order by frequent orders and cancellations. The Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges have imposed curbs on 24 trading accounts for such trading irregularities. But some experts expressed doubts over the effectiveness of the regulator's move to prevent a market meltdown. Dong Dengxin, head of the finance and securities research institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said that program trading may be made a scapegoat for the recent market volatility. "Institutional investors often use program trading to 'sail through' the abnormal market fluctuations, which objectively is a mechanism that reduces market volatility," he said. ^ top ^

More controls on online payments (Xinhua)
2015-08-04
China plans to tighten regulatory controls on the country's nearly 300 online payment firms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's finance affiliate. The draft rule, published by the People's Bank of China, the central bank, on Friday, has triggered concerns among the general public as it imposes a cap on the amount that can be spent online via third-party payment platforms. Industry observers said that rather than making people's life convenient, the draft rule aims to curb online payment companies from providing services that are otherwise provided by financial institutions. Under the draft, the PBOC plans to limit the amount an individual can pay online to 5,000 yuan ($800) per day through third-party payment accounts, unless the customer's identity can be verified by a security token and electronic signature. The central bank is seeking public feedback on the move by Aug 28. Many Internet shoppers expressed their frustration, saying that 5,000 yuan is not enough to buy an iPhone online. In an unusual gesture, the central bank issued a follow-up statement during the weekend to clarify the "misunderstanding" of the draft rule. It said that customers with at least five methods of verifications can open a so-called "comprehensive account", which limits annual online or mobile payments to 200,000 yuan per person. With three to five verification methods, customer can only open a "consumption account", with an annual transaction limit of 100,000 yuan. Ma Tao, an Internet finance analyst at consultancy firm Analysys International, said that people's user experience is expected to remain more or less the same as online payment firms will work closely with banks to provide verifications that can live up to the requirement. "The goal of the draft rule is to limit the business portfolio carried out by third-party payment firms as an increasing number of them have expanded their business to engage in peer-to-peer lending, wealth management and other services that were earlier offered by financial institutions in China," he said. With mobile Internet becoming an increasingly integral part of people's lives, especially for those in urban areas, Internet-based payments have been adopted on an increasing number of occasions, from online shopping to more and more offline supermarkets, restaurants and cinemas. Internet finance is also posing a rising threat to Chinese brick-and-mortar banks, which have lobbied for more regulations on third-party payments and peer-to-peer lending platforms. Statistics from iResearch Consulting Group show that China's third-party payment market jumped 50.3 percent year-on-year to 8.08 trillion yuan last year. However, Ma said the business of Alipay, China's largest online payment tool backed by Alibaba, and Tenpay, the payment tool under Tencent Holdings Ltd, will remain intact as the two online payment leaders, with a combined market share of 69.1 percent in 2014, have made a lot of efforts to evolve from an online payment tool to a comprehensive online finance services provider. "Both of the giants have already gained licences to operate online banks. But for small online payment firms, the draft regulation will restrict their innovation capabilities and make it difficult for them to compete in the long run," said Ma. ^ top ^

China to continue prudent monetary policy: PBOC (Xinhua)
2015-08-05
China will continue prudent monetary policy, according to the country's central bank on Tuesday. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will use a variety of policy tools to fine tune the market, keep moderate liquidity and achieve reasonable credit and private financing growth, according to a statement released after a meeting attended by presidents of its branches to map out major tasks in the second half of this year. The statement came after rising concerns that policymakers may tighten the monetary policy as inflation has shown signs of warming due to an unexpectedly sharp increase in pork prices. The central bank said it will continue to improve lending structure, lower financing costs, keep the yuan stable, stabilize financial market expectations and boost the real economy. ^ top ^

IMF urged to delay decision on adding China's yuan to its basket of currencies (SCMP)
2015-08-05
The International Monetary Fund should put off any move to add the yuan to its Special Drawing Rights currency basket until September 2016, an IMF staff report said, a move that would effectively end the Chinese currency's chances of an early inclusion. The report, published on Tuesday, comes after Beijing launched a major diplomatic push for the yuan's inclusion in the IMF basket as part of its long-term strategic goal of reducing dependence on the dollar. The report said the implementation of any formal decision to add the yuan to a basket of currencies comprising dollars, euros, pounds and yen should be delayed so as not to disrupt financial market trading on the first day of 2016. “The proposed extension, which will be decided by the executive board later this month, would not in any way prejudge the timing of conclusion or outcome of the review,” said Siddharth Tiwari, director of the IMF's strategy, policy and review department. It said that the yuan, also known as the renminbi, met the requirements as a significant currency in terms of international trade. The board would judge if the yuan meets criteria that it should be “freely usable”. “If the RMB [renminbi] were determined to be a freely usable currency, it would play a more central role in the Fund's financial operations going forward and it would qualify for inclusion in the SDR basket,” the report said. European members of the Group of Seven major industrialised economies - Germany, Britain, France and Italy – favour adding the yuan to the basket this year. Japan, like the United States, is more cautious, officials have said. The yuan has made huge strides since Beijing's last push for more formal international recognition of the currency as global financial leaders were struggling to deal with the fallout of the sub-prime and banking crisis. The IMF staff report recognised progress made by Beijing, noting that it was already the fifth most-used currency for international trade. China's Premier Li Keqiang in March asked IMF managing director Christine Lagarde to push for inclusion, saying Beijing would speed up the convertibility of the yuan on the capital account and open domestic individual cross-border investment and foreign institutional investment in China's capital market. Beijing announced earlier this year it would set up its own investment bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, amid frustrations over by the refusal of the US Congress to pass reforms to increase the voting rights of emerging markets in the IMF. Most US allies in Europe have signed up for the Chinese-led initiative, seen as a rival to the World Bank and Japan-based Asian Development Bank, despite pressure from Washington. Japan has also declined to join the AIIB. ^ top ^

Chinese yuan weakens to 6.1186 against USD Wednesday (Xinhua)
2015-08-05
The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, weakened by 9 basis points to 6.1186 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System. In China's spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day. The central parity rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day. ^ top ^

China to issue 300 billion yuan in bonds to fund huge infrastructure push (SCMP)
2015-08-06
China will soon offer 300 billion yuan (HK$374 billion) in bonds to pay for infrastructure work across the nation, a fresh sign the leadership plans to speed up asset investment to buoy slowing growth. The Agricultural Development Bank of China and China Development Bank, two major policy lenders, will issue the debt, with the central government covering most of the interest payments, according to the Economic Information Daily, a subsidiary of Xinhua. The bonds are Beijing's first fundraising push for a series of new public works including railways, urban underground pipelines and poverty-alleviation projects. The central government intended to raise 1 trillion yuan through debt issues in three years, the newspaper reported. "The regional governments badly need financial support from the central authorities to fund the planned infrastructure construction," said an official with Shanghai Chengtou, a municipal government investment arm. "The issuance of 1 trillion yuan will be far from enough to meet financing needs." The leadership is striving to maintain economic growth in the wake of dwindling external demand, slowing investment growth and a stock market rout in the first half of the year. The Chinese economy expanded 7 per cent in the first half, meeting the official target, but business activity remained weak due to falling orders. To keep the unemployment rate low, top policymakers will have to increase fixed-asset investment to stoke demand for industrial products while helping companies pursue revenue growth and profits. But local governments are facing tougher scrutiny of their infrastructure spending as the cabinet, led by Premier Li Keqiang, tries to steer clear of unnecessary or inefficient projects that lead to loan defaults and stubborn inflation. According to local government officials and economists, the application procedure for new projects and reviews of funding requests have grown stricter compared to several years ago. Beijing wants to avoid a repeat of 2009, when it rolled out a 4 trillion-yuan stimulus package focused on infrastructure to combat the global slowdown, only to see local governments become saddled with about 20 trillion yuan in debt following reckless spending on public works. "The leadership's new policy line that requires efficiency and effectiveness in upcoming infrastructure projects will be a long-term benefit to economic development," said Edmond Sum, a China specialist at property consultant JLL. "Eventually, the policy will have a knock-on effect on Chinese companies, helping them to reduce costs. "  ^ top ^

China's services sector expands at fastest pace in nearly a year, survey suggests (SCMP)
2015-08-06
Activity in China's services sector expanded at its fastest pace in 11 months in July, thanks to stronger new business, a private survey showed on Wednesday, a welcome development at a time factories in the world's second largest economy are struggling. The services Purchasing Managers' Index compiled by Caixin/Markit rose to 53.8 from June's 51.8. The July level is the highest since August 2014 and marks a 12th straight month of expansion. A reading above 50 points indicates growth on a monthly basis, while one below that points to a contraction. A sub-index measuring new business jumped to 54.0 from June's 52.2 while the employment sub-index also edged up, indicating increased hiring on stronger new businesses. Both input prices and selling prices increased in July, indicating a slight pick-up in inflationary pressure. The Caixin PMI report did not specify if there was an impact on the services sector from the crash in the country's stock markets from mid-June. A sharp rally early in the year had boosted performance for banks and brokerages, plus gave a much needed lift to the cooling economy. The official services PMI released on Saturday showed that activity quickened slightly in July from the previous month. The relatively resilient services sector could help offset some downward pressure on the economy as the manufacturing sector struggles to cope with weaker demand at home and abroad. The final Caixin/Markit factory survey showed activity contracted the most in two years in July while the official PMI showed manufacturing growth unexpectedly stalled. The official surveys focus on large, state-owned firms, while the private ones measure activity across small to medium-sized firms, which are facing tougher financial and operating conditions. The services sector has accounted for the bigger part of China's economic output for at least two years, with its share rising to 48.2 per cent last year, compared with the 42.6 per cent contribution from manufacturing and construction. The government has taken a series of steps since last year to try to put a floor beneath sputtering economic growth, including accelerating infrastructure spending and repeated reductions in interest rates and banks' reserve ratio. But growth is still expected to moderate this year to around 7 per cent, the slowest in a quarter of a century. ^ top ^

Chinese investment firm Dalian Wanda 'in talks to buy Ironman triathlon group' (SCMP)
2015-08-07
Chinese property and investment firm Dalian Wanda Group is in exclusive talks to acquire World Triathlon Corp, the US owner of the popular Ironman Triathlon franchise, for more than US$850 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. The potential deal underscores China's increasing appetite for US media assets. Live events and sports brands are some of the most attractive and fast-growing areas of the media industry. Dalian Wanda outbid other potential buyers for Ironman and is now in negotiations to finalise a deal with its owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, the person said this week. There is no certainty that Dalian Wanda will manage to finalise a deal, the person added. The source asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. A spokesman for Providence declined to comment, while representatives for Dalian Wanda and Ironman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ironman is a long-distance triathlon featuring a 3.86-km swim, a 180-km bike ride and a 42.2-km run, all of which has to be completed in under 17 hours. Ironman hosts 180 events in more than 20 countries, including shorter races. The first Ironman race was held in Hawaii in 1978 with 15 entrants. The idea for the race came from naval officer John Collins and his wife, Judy, who issued a challenge to see whether swimmers, bikers or runners were the toughest competitors. The World Championship, where 2,000 athletes compete, is still held in Hawaii and is televised on the NBC Sports Network. John Gills, a physician and Ironman participant, bought the rights to Ironman in 1989 and sold World Triathlon Corp to Providence in 2008 for an undisclosed sum. The company generates revenue from selling licensing for merchandise and is also paid through entry fees, sponsorships and global TV rights. World Triathlon Corp has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than US$50 million, sources previously said. Dalian Wanda, known for its real estate holdings, has been expanding its media investments outside China in recent years. It bought sports marketing firm Infront Sports & Media, which is based in Switzerland, for 1.05 billion euros (HK$9.1 billion) in February. Dalian Wanda's last major US media investment was its US$2.6 billion takeover of AMC Entertainment movie theatres in 2012. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Parliament commences special plenary session (Montsame)
2015-08-03
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ A special plenary session of the State Great Khural opened on August 3. The session will discuss the new wordings of the Criminal Law and the Law on Fire Arms, drafts laws on Economic Transparency and on Amnesty, draft amendments to the Law on Regulations' Violation and others that have been discussed during the Spring session, said Speaker Z.Enkhbold. He added that the Parliamentary resolution on ousting some members of the Cabinet will be read by the State Great Khural after it would be submitted in accordance with the law. Mr Z.Enkhbold said that he hopes the MPs will actively attend the party faction and standing committee meetings and the plenary meetings, in order for the regulations to be adopted in the given two weeks for this special session. The first meeting of the special session had 80 percent attendance from Democratic Party faction and 70 percent -- from the Justice Coalition and no-show from the Mongolian People Party. ^ top ^

Denison Mines to sell Mongolian interests to Czech company (Infomongolia)
2015-08-04
Denison Mines Corp. has signed a deal to sell its interest in Gurvan Saikhan Joint Venture (GSJV) with Uranium Industry a.s. of the Czech Republic for 20 million US dollar. Thus, Uranium Industry a.s. holds 85% interest in GSJV. GSJV was formed by Denison Mines, a Mongolian state owned company Mon-Atom LLC and Russian uranium exploration company Geologorazvedka in 1999. Gurvan Saikhan uranium deposit has 7.6 thousand tons measured reserve and 2.2 thousand tons possible reserve. The deal closing is set to take place before or on September 8, 2015. At first, Denison Mines held 70% interest in GSJV, and Geologorazvedka and Mon-Atom LLC held 15% respectively. Later In 2011, Denison Mines has bought 15% interest of Geologorazvedka. Uranium Industry a.s. is an experienced company with 72 years background. It has started to operate in Mongolia since 2012. ^ top ^

Mongolia and Peace Corps commemorate the 25th anniversary of signing the Cooperation Agreement (Infomongolia)
2015-08-05
On July 31, 2015, the press conference in commemorating the 25th anniversary of signing the Mongolia - Peace Corps Country agreement was held. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. L.Purevsuren, Former Foreign Minister, Mr. Ts.Gombosuren, Peace Corps Mongolia Country Director Ms. Darlene Grant and Ambassador of the U.S.A to Mongolia Ms. Piper A. Campbell attended the press conference. The Country agreement was co-signed by then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Ts.Gombosuren and U.S. Secretary of State James Baker on August 2, 1990. The anniversary of signing the agreement coincides with the 25th anniversary of the First democratic elections in Mongolia. Since signing the agreement, 1,149 Peace Corps volunteers have worked in most sums of 21 provinces of Mongolia and they have contributed to the Mongolia's social development. ^ top ^

Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UN, Ambassador S.Sukhbold presented his credentials (Infomongolia)
2015-08-05
On July 31, 2015, the new Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations, Mr. Sukhee SUKHBOLD presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Following the ceremony, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and his spouse Mrs. Ban Soon-taek had a welcoming meeting with Mr. S.Sukhbold and his spouse Mrs. D.Mongolmaa. Conveying the President Ts.Elbegdorj's greetings to the UN Secretary-General, Ambassador S.Sukhbold expressed gratitude for the opportunity to represent Mongolia in the historic period of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the transition period from the Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals. The newly appointed Permanent Representative promised to put all efforts in strengthening and expanding the relations between Mongolia and the United Nations. ^ top ^

President Ts.Elbegdorj rejects Prime Minister's proposal to dismiss six ministers, promoted by MPP (Infomongolia)
2015-08-07
On August 05, 2015, the President of Mongolia replied to the official letter by the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, regarding the dismissal of six ministers, promoted by Mongolian People's Party (MPP). President Ts.Elbegdorj rejected agreeing upon the dismissal of the current ministers. “I have familiarized with the proposal to dismiss six ministers. I declare that I disapprove the issue, as it can have serious consequences in social and economic growth and international prestige of the country and the quality of life of our citizens, and also might result in political instability," Mr. Ts.Elbegdorj informed in response to the letter:  ^ top ^

Speaker Z.Enkhbold receives Ambassador Piper Anne Wind Campbell (Infomongolia)
2015-08-07
The Speaker of the State Great Khural, Mr. Z.Enkhbold has received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Mrs. Piper Anne Wind Campbell on occasion of her resignation on August 5, 2015. At the beginning of meeting, Mrs. Piper Anne Wind Campbell expressed gratitude for the support she received in the past years and said that she has been putting all efforts in strengthening the two countries' relations and to develop cooperation in multiple sectors. In response, Speaker Z.Enkhbold has thanked Mrs. Piper Anne Wind Campbell for her contribution to the relations between Mongolia and the United States of America. The Speaker of Parliament has stressed that the United States of America is the third neighbor of Mongolia and few important visits that took place in past three years; the official visit of the Speaker of Parliament to the U.S. in 2013, the official visits of Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren in 2015, official visit of Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse to Mongolia in 2013, visits of Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns in 2013 and the United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in 2014. Mr. Z.Enkhbold has noted that these officials visits which played important role in relations of Mongolia and USA took place during Mrs. Piper Anne Wind Campbell's service in Mongolia. Ambassador Piper A. Campbell has provided huge support for Mongolia to resume Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that was discontinued since 2008 with USA and organizing First Mongolia-U.S. Economic Policy Consultative Meeting at the initiative of the USA, VII Ministerial Conference of Community of Democracies in 2013 and Freedom Online Coalition in 2015. At the ending of meeting, Speaker Z.Enkhbold has wished Ambassador Piper A. Campbell success in her further endeavors. ^ top ^

Ministry of Food and Agriculture signs MoU on Cooperation with Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan (Infomongolia)
2015-08-07
Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia signs the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation with Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan on August 05, 2015. The Memorandum gives Mongolia chance to promote organic food industry based on own agricultural resources using management, high technology and investment of Japan and export Mongolian agricultural products to Japan, and further improve bilateral economic relations between Mongolia and Japan. During the meeting, Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa said: “In this time when the need for safe, healthy and organic products is increasing in the world, the Memorandum enables us to export our products to Japan, the third biggest market in the world. It will greatly improve our economy.” In the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture will host business forum on August 8, 2015. Delegations from Japanese private sectors will be in attendance. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Justine Anken
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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