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
  7-11.9.15, No. 587  
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Mongolia

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Switzerland

Cabinet Secretariat and SDC signs agreement on cooperation on Decentralization Policy Support Project (Infomongolia)
2015-09-11
In 2012, Mongolian government has launched "Governance Support and Decentralization" program with financial assistance of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to resolve growing decentralization issues in Mongolia. Its next phase started on April 2015. In order to put a favorable ground for the decentralization program's implementation, Cabinet Secretariat of the Government has developed a support project “Decentralization Policy Support” jointly with Ministry of Finance of Mongolia and will implement with assistance of other ministries and local administrations. On September 08, 2015, Deputy Head of the Cabinet Secretariat G.Ganbold and SDC Director of Cooperation and Swiss Consul General Markus Waldvogel have signed agreement on cooperation on the project implementation. The newly developed project will be implemented for three years and six months under Cabinet Secretariat through organizations involved in the project. It aims to clarify directives, authority and responsibility local administration and improve legislation for equal distribution of state resources to its citizens. ^ top ^

Swiss tourist 'indecently assaulted three Cathay Pacific cabin crew' on Hong Kong-bound flight (SCMP)
2015-09-08
A Swiss tourist suspected of indecently assaulting three Cathay Pacific flight attendants on board a Hong Kong-bound flight was arrested when he landed in the city today, police said. The man, 45, who was flying economy class, was accused of indecently assaulting the three women aged from 25 to 38 on separate occasions on a flight from Zurich this morning. Hong Kong police were alerted shortly before 7am. After the plane landed at Hong Kong International Airport at about 7am, officers went on board to investigate and arrested the man. “We are investigating whether the man was under the influence of alcohol,” a police source said. The man is understood to have come to Hong Kong alone for sightseeing. Police said on Tuesday evening that the tourist had been charged with three counts of indecent assault and will appear in Tsuen Wan Court tomorrow. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

FM verifying reports about Chinese man abducted by IS (Xinhua)
2015-09-11
The Chinese government is verifying information about the abduction of a Chinese national by the Islamic State (IS) militants, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday. Hong Lei told a regular news briefing that China firmly opposes any violence against innocent civilians. The radical group on Wednesday claimed that its militants had captured a Chinese consultant and a Norwegian man, according to its official online magazine, Dabiq. In the English-language magazine, IS announced the capture of Fan Jinghui, identified as a Beijing freelance consultant, and Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad from Oslo. The magazine posted shots of the two abductees from several angles, showing them in yellow outfits. The words underneath the pictures read "Chinese prisoner for sale" and "Norwegian prisoner for sale" respectively. The magazine gave no details of the capture, but offered a telegram number to contact the kidnapper and pay the ransom. According to reports, Fan, the alleged Chinese kidnap victim, was previously a teacher but gave up the profession to become an advertising consultant. Fan's wife, allegedly surnamed Zhang, refused to comment to the media, The Beijing News reported on Thursday. However, Zhang's colleague confirmed that her husband was Fan Jinghui and said that his relatives were anxious about his whereabouts. "I believe that Fan's appearance resembles the picture of the man printed in the [IS] magazine," Pang Fei, who was interviewed in a CCTV talk show alongside Fan in 2001, told the Global Times on Thursday. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Wednesday that a Norwegian citizen had been taken hostage by IS in Syria and the country has refused to pay any ransom. The Norwegian government was made aware of a possible kidnapping in late January, said Solberg. ^ top ^

Chinese anti-graft official visits Interpol amid campaign to track down fugitives overseas (SCMP)
2015-09-10
A deputy head of the Chinese Communist Party's graft watchdog visited Interpol as part of a trip to France to push for greater international cooperation in China's fight against corruption, state media said on Thursday. The government unveiled an initiative called Sky Net earlier this year to better coordinate its fight to return corrupt officials and published a list of 100 suspects believed to be abroad and subject to an Interpol “red notice”. Officials say only about 10 people on that list have been returned to China so far, from countries with close ties to Beijing. The state-run Xinhua news agency said that Zhao Hongzhu, a deputy head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, met French government officials, including the justice minister and then went to Interpol headquarters in Lyon on a trip that ended this week. "The main point was to increase international cooperation in fighting corruption and exchange views on recovering dirty assets and corruption suspects,” Xinhua said, without elaborating. Interpol, in a statement on its website, said that Secretary General Jürgen Stock told Zhao he valued its cooperation with China. President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping campaign against graft since assuming power in late 2012, but has been hampered by difficulty in getting corrupt officials and assets back from overseas. China does not have extradition treaties with the United States or Canada - the two most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals. Western countries have baulked at signing extradition deals with China, partly out of concern about the integrity of its judicial system and treatment of prisoners. Rights groups say the Chinese authorities use torture and that the death penalty is common in corruption cases. ^ top ^

Two Chinese state firm officials face bribery charges in Kenya (SCMP)
2015-09-10
A senior official of a Chinese state-owned enterprise in charge of building a railway in East Africa is to appear in court on bribery charges on Friday, according to Kenyan authorities. The senior official, identified as Liu Yabin, and another liaison officer, Tang Ju, from the China Road and Bridge Corporation were arrested on suspicion of offering bribes to Kenyan highways authority officials in an effort to avoid charges for overloaded trucks, according to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in Kenya. Liu is accused of offering 30,000 Kenyan Shillings (HK$2,170) and Tang of offering KS100,000 to the officials in return for waiving the charges on their trucks, which were overloaded with construction materials, last weekend. China won tte tender last year to build the US$3.8 billion railway line that will stretch from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa to Nairobi, and link to the capitals of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The EACC, in charge of the sting operation with the highway officials, said Liu would appear in an anti-corruption court today and that Tang had appeared in court on Tuesday. Kenya is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries by Transparency International's annual corruption index. In 2014, it ranked 145th out of 175 countries. A professor at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University in Australia said it was difficult for Chinese SOEs to govern their subsidiaries and contractors operating abroad as there were no regulations to penalise them for bribery outside of China. "At most [SOEs] would say they encourage the Chinese companies to behave properly, [but] there are no formal rules in China which regulate their behaviour in a third country," Professor Xu Yichong said. Xu said she was baffled that legal action was taken over such a "small amount of money". "Most projects building bridges, roads, infrastructure [involve] billions of dollars … This is a small amount [in comparison]," Xu said. ^ top ^

Chinese premier urges intl cooperation in production capacity (Xinhua)
201-09-10
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for stronger international cooperation in production capacity in order to solve structural problems in global growth on Thursday. Citing a negative spillover effect of quantitative easing, Li said a better way to stimulate world economic growth is to strengthen the real economy, including pushing forward structural reforms at home and promote international cooperation. The Chinese premier made the remarks in an address to the annual meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum held in China' s northeast port city of Dalian. China' s proposal of building the "One Belt and One Road" and expanding international cooperation in production capacity, said Li, would further open up China' s economy, let each country play out its comparative strengths and help shape a more balanced and inclusive global industrial chain. International cooperation in production capacity would enable countries at different development stages to connect their demand and supply and inject new momentum into stabilizing world economic growth, said Li. Developing countries have strong demand for equipment and infrastructure, while many middle-income and developed countries need renovation, said Li. China' s high-quality equipment and relatively low price, as well as its strong construction capacity, possess great potential for international cooperation, he said. Such cooperation, which has already attracted the participation of many developed and developing countries, will help solve problems in capacity growth, upgrade economic structure, further integrate the global industrial chain and open up new markets. China is ready to buy advanced technology and equipment from developed countries and combine them with its mid-range equipment to satisfy the needs of developing nations, serving as a bridge in international cooperation in production capacity, said Li. The Chinese premier urged entrepreneurs to seize the business opportunity and called for stronger support from governments, international organizations as well as financial institutions, suggesting international capacity cooperation be put into bilateral or multilateral cooperation framework. "The Chinese economy will integrate deeper into the rest of the world," said the premier. "We are ready to work with other countries to promote a free, open and non-discriminatory multilateral trade system." The Chinese premier also pledged to offer financial facilities to support Chinese and foreign enterprises joining international cooperation in production capacity. Responding to a question from World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, Li suggested the initiative would boost global growth by unlocking tremendous demand, as a majority of the world population is still located in the primary and middle stages of industrialization. Citing his experience in Latin America, Li said Chinese companies and those in developed nations may work together to produce high-quality, inexpensive equipment and develop huge markets in third-party countries. This year's Summer Davos Forum, which will last until Friday, focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. More than 1,700 business leaders and experts from more than 90 countries will share their thoughts on economic outlook as well as new trends in technology, finance and energy. ^ top ^

Xi's US visit to deepen connotation of new model of major-country ties (Xinhua)
2010-09-10
Despite resurrected talks of pessimism in Washington over China-US ties, many Chinese and US experts agreed that Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to the U.S. could help dispel the qualms and inject fresh momentum into bilateral ties. During a recent meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Beijing, Xi reiterated China's commitment to building a new model of major-country relations with the United States, featuring no-conflict and no-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. As Xi's upcoming first state visit to US attracts global attention, China has once again demonstrated to the world that it is working hard to seek a sustainable and steady growth of China-US relationship, and more importantly, to foster a new paradigm of healthy ties between world's major countries that will contribute to realizing lasting peace and progress of mankind. "A sort of strategic anxiety toward China has been on the rise among US policymakers and experts," observed Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at China's Fudan University in Shanghai. For example, he said, David M. Lampton, a leading China expert in Washington, has recently warned that the US-China relationship is at a "critical tipping point" that gets closer to a cliff. Talking about such so-called "China anxiety complex" in Washington, Wu told Xinhua that it partly derives from a comparative change of national strengths of the two nations. In 1979 when China and the US established diplomatic relations, China was among the world's poor countries. Today, the country has grown into the world's second-largest economy, rolling out a series of global initiatives such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and "One Belt One Road" that will have a far-reaching impact on the world economy. For China-US relations, the changing global landscape presents both greater opportunities and more complex challenges. In essence, the US concerns about China reflect a Cold War mentality and a lack of confidence, said Chen Jimin, a young international relations scholar at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). […] The top challenge for building a new model of major-country ties between China and the US is Washington's persistent skepticism toward China's strategic intentions and its reluctance to treat China as an equal, according to Qian Wenrong, a China-US relations expert affiliated with Xinhua News Agency, wrote in a recent article. "Mutual trust is a key for constructing a new model of major-country ties between the two sides," he said. However, despite all the challenges, the general picture in China-US ties largely remains unchanged: common interests outweigh differences while instances of cooperation outnumber disputes. Nowadays, with an annual bilateral trade value of 550 billion US dollars, China-US economic ties have never been more interdependent. The exchanges between the two peoples have never been more frequent, with more than 10,000 Chinese and Americans traveling across the Pacific every day. Simply put, the two big countries just cannot afford to head into a zero-sum game due to their increasing convergence of interests. […] They said eventually the China-US relationship will maintain a momentum of steady and healthy development with win-win achievement. Over the past two years, guided by both President Xi and President Barack Obama, the world's two biggest economies have been taking concrete steps toward building a new model of major-country relationship and have maintained good development momentum in bilateral ties despite occasional disputes and frictions. Experts believe that Xi's upcoming state visit will further consolidate the relationship and bring confidence to the future of the two countries and even the whole world. "I expect that both sides will want to use the visit to extend the spirit of cooperation demonstrated in the meetings between President Obama and Xi in Beijing last November," said Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the US at the Wilson Center. "Xi Jinping's state visit to the United States will be a milestone for bilateral relations," said Chen at CPC Party School, adding that it will prove to the world the China-US relations are still on the normal track of development, and will continue to develop along the direction of building a new model of major-country relationship. […] Since the importance of China-US relationship transcends the bilateral level with deep regional and global impact, Xi's US visit will send a positive message of confidence to the world, according to Wu from Fudan University. Enditem Xinhua reporters Yang Qingchuan and Liao Zhenyun in Beijing, Zhi Linfei, Zhou ErJie and Shi Yingshan in Washington contributed to the story. ^ top ^

China, Russia to co-develop heavy-lift helicopter in 2016 (China Daily)
2015-09-10
China and Russia are close to finalizing an agreement to jointly develop a heavy-lift helicopter next year, according to senior Chinese helicopter designers. "The project is progressing smoothly, and we are discussing with our Russian counterparts terms and clauses in the agreement. The negotiations should conclude before the end of this year and the development will start next year," said Wu Ximing, chief helicopter designer at Aviation Industry Corp of China, at the Third China Helicopter Expo, which opened on Wednesday in Tianjin. The new helicopter's production will be based in China, he said, adding it will use the Ukraine-made Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engine at the initial mass-production stage. "Our existing turboshaft engines' maximum output power is about 1,000 kilowatts, not powerful enough to propel the heavy-lift helicopter. The Chinese engineers are developing a 5,000-kilowatt turboshaft engine that can be used by the aircraft in the future," he said. Lin Zuoming, AVIC's chairman, said on Tuesday that he expects the helicopter to conduct its first flight around 2020. Huang Chuanyue, deputy chief engineer at Avicopter, AVIC's helicopter branch, said that China realized in 2008 that it needs a heavy-lift helicopter following a devastating earthquake in Sichuan province. The lack of such aircraft made it very difficult for relief forces to transport urgently needed materials to mountainous areas affected by the disaster, he said. China then decided to cooperate with Russia, which has experience and know-how in the helicopter industry, to develop a heavy-lift helicopter to serve mainly civilian purposes. After several years of negotiations, AVIC and Russian Helicopters signed a cooperation framework agreement on the project in Moscow in May. "The helicopter will use China's world-class avionics systems and advanced materials, while Russia will be responsible for the aerodynamic design, transmission gear and de-icing equipment," Huang said. According to AVIC, the aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight of 38.2 metric tons and a maximum cruising speed of 300 km/h. It will be capable of flying at altitudes up to 5,700 meters and have a range of 630 km. Huang said it will be able to carry 10 tons of cargo, or more than 100 people inside the cabin, or 15 tons in an external sling. "Compared with Russia's Mil Mi-26, now the largest helicopter used in China, the new aircraft will be more adaptable to plateaus and tropical regions," he said. "This is very important because China has vast plateau areas and mountainous terrain, as well as many islands that are difficult to access by other means. That has been an extremely serious problem because China is often hit by natural disasters." The aircraft will also be of value for building infrastructure in mountainous terrain and on islands. Huang said China will need at least 200 heavy-lift helicopters within the coming 30 years, and the international market's demand will reach about 2,000 in that time. "We expect this helicopter will corner about 25 percent of the international market for this type," he said. Currently, heavy-lift helicopters in use include the United States' Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion and Russia's Mil Mi-26 series. The US and Russia continue to upgrade these types and aspire to maintain their joint dominance of the heavy-lift helicopter market, observers said. ^ top ^

Bangkok bomb linked to East Turkestan Islamic Movement, as Chinese media stops downplaying issue due to sensitivities over Uygurs (SCMP)
2015-09-10
A state-run publication has linked the Bangkok blast that killed at least six Chinese last month to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement - ending a period in which mainland media downplayed the incident due to its links with the Uygur minority. Global Times said on Wednesday the bomb attack might have been plotted by the ETIM as revenge against Thailand's cooperation with China in deporting more than 100 Uygurs in July. The report follows a period of low-profile coverage about the incident. Journalists from three mainland news organisations said they had been told this month not to follow up developments, due to sensitivities surrounding the Uygurs. The report, citing unnamed Chinese officials, came after Thai police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri confirmed that the alleged bomber, Yusufu Mieraili, held a genuine Chinese passport. However, the travel document belonging to another suspect, who identified himself as Adem Karadak from Turkey, was false. The report said Mieraili had left China in 2013, and described the attack as an "organised crime". It said the suspects arrested by Thai authorities were not all mainland passport holders. Mainland journalists said the incident was sensitive, but it was not clear whether there was a gag order from propaganda officials or if they were self-censoring. Xu Liping, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing had played down the incident fearing the blast might hinder its counterterrorism work with other countries. "There is no doubt that links between the blast and the repatriation of Uygurs is the last thing Beijing wants to see," Xu said. He was referring to Thai authorities' deportation of more than a hundred Uygurs in July. The move has already prompted protests against the Thai embassy in Turkey, where many feel affinity with Uygurs. If the blast turned out to be revenge for this, Xu said, other countries would have second thoughts about helping Beijing repatriate Uygurs. Beijing would also hate its citizens to think they had become a target of terrorists abroad due to its counterterrorism operations, said Raffaello Pantucci, from Britain's Royal United Services Institute. "The public will start to question - hang on, what have you [authorities] been doing, you are not protecting us." And if the middle class started to think the government's actions were putting them at risk on holiday, it would be "worrying for Beijing in a real way", he said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice president meets former African leaders (Xinhua)
2015-09-10
Vice President Li Yuanchao met with former African leaders on Wednesday, calling for joint efforts to make the China-Africa summit in December a success. Botswana's former president Festus Mogae; Mozambique's former president Armando Guebuza; and South African former president Thabo Mbeki were present at the meeting. Hailing China and Africa as a community of shared destiny, Li said China's Africa policy is characterized as being true, practical, close and sincere, with a future of enhanced cooperation. "We are willing to work with African countries to make this year's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation [FOCAC] a success," Li said. China and South Africa last week announced the sixth ministerial meeting of FOCAC, which is slated for Dec. 4-5 in South Africa. The forum would be upgraded to a summit. African state leaders will be invited to summit, the second of its kind after the Beijing summit in 2006. FOCAC aims at achieving common development and prosperity of China and Africa. China is willing to strengthen party-to-party exchanges with African countries and promote state-to-state relations and the new type of China-African strategic partnership, Li added. The foreign dignitaries said China, as a strategic partner for Africa, assisted African countries with poverty eradication and peace and development efforts. ^ top ^

China, South Korea and Japan to hold talks over trilateral summit (SCMP)
2015-09-09
South Korea, Japan and China plan to hold talks on September 15 in Seoul to discuss realising a trilateral summit and other issues of interest, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said yesterday. "The talks among deputy director-general level officials will be held at the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat in Seoul on September 15 to discuss preparing for the sixth trilateral summit among South Korea, Japan and China," ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said. The announcement follows the agreement by China and South Korea last week at a summit in Beijing to realise a trilateral summit with Japan by late October at the earliest. The annual three-way summit has been suspended since the last one was held in Beijing in May, 2012, mainly because China and South Korea perceive Japan as not having done enough to atone for its atrocities before and during the second world war. South Korea holds the rotating chair of the trilateral framework. The secretariat was launched in September, 2011 as an inter-governmental organisation to bolster efforts for trilateral cooperation as a result of a deal reached at the third South Korea, Japan and China summit held in 2010 at South Korea's southern island of Jeju. ^ top ^

China willing to deepen anti-corruption cooperation with France: CPC official (Xinhua)
2015-09-08
Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Zhao Hongzhu has said that China is willing to deepen practical cooperation in fighting corruption with France, with focus on the fugitive hunt. Zhao, deputy head of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), made the remarks during a five-day visit in France set to be concluded Wednesday. Zhao has held individual meetings with First Secretary of the French Socialist Party Jean-Christophe Cambadlelis, French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, and President of the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life Jean-Louis Nadal. He briefed French officials about the situation of China's anti-corruption fight, vowing the CPC and China's "zero-tolerance" for corruption. Zhao, who is also a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, said China is ready to further cooperation on hunting fugitives and recovering of illegal proceedings under the extradition treaty between the two countries. During the meetings, the French side praised China's anti-corruption efforts and expressed willingness to cooperate with China in the regard. The visit also saw that Zhao visited the headquarters of Interpol and exchanged views with Jurgen Stock, Secretary-General of Interpol on international anti-corruption cooperation and fugitive hunt. ^ top ^

Details emerge of Xi Jinping's first state visit to US, but hopes remain low for diplomatic breakthrough (SCMP)
2015-09-08
Despite strained ties and limited common ground, President Xi Jinping is embarking on a lengthy and elaborate state visit to the United States later this month, according to people familiar with the preparations. But there are also doubts over how the trip can improve relations between the world's two biggest economies as talks on what the visit can achieve have made little headway. Xi will begin his first state visit to the US with a series of public engagements in Seattle on September 22, before heading to Washington DC for diplomatic pomp, and concluding with a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, said a person familiar with the trip and a Chinese scholar. While in Seattle, a tech hub that is home to conglomerates such as Microsoft and Amazon, Xi will have his only official interaction with the business community. Apart from a reception with business executives, there would also be a CEO roundtable chaired by former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson, the source said. At the reception, Xi will seek to reassure his audience of China's resolve to press ahead with economic reform, said Jin Canrong, a professor with Renmin University in Beijing and a government adviser. But it is not clear whether the floor will be open to the executives, most of whom are likely to raise concerns over China's currency devaluation and renewed Chinese protectionism. Xi is also known for refusing to take unscripted questions in public. In Washington, Xi will hold a summit with US President Barack Obama, in which the leaders are expected to discuss issues that have been straining relations - from China's activities in the South China Sea to cyberespionage. While both sides are seeking to highlight areas in which they can cooperate, many analysts see little chance of a breakthrough. […] With multiple areas of friction between the two countries, major breakthroughs of a similar scale were less likely this year, said Professor Jacques deLisle, director for East Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. "When it gets this close to a summit, there is [usually] something on the agenda about what's going to come out, but there hasn't been a lot of buzz about what that's going to be," said deLisle, who described the visit as "curiously long". The political climate in Washington was also deemed unfavourable and prompted Beijing to move most of Xi's public engagements to the Seattle leg, Jin said. China has become a frequent target of Republican presidential candidates. Late last month, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker called on Obama to cancel Xi's visit after US stocks fell amid fears of China's economic slowdown. Jin said a stopover in Hawaii was also floated as part of Xi's visit but was turned down because "that's the headquarters of US Pacific Command, and they have been very critical of China's South China Sea policy". Detroit, where investment from China is said to have revived its economy, was also an option, Jin said, but that idea was dismissed for security concerns. ^ top ^

China rejects Philippines' comments on V-Day celebration (China Daily)
2015-09-08
China on Monday rejected comments by the Philippines about its V-Day celebrations and reaffirmed its commitment to world peace. "Those words do not deserve comment," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at a daily press conference. Hong's remarks came after a statement from Philippine defense ministry spokesman Peter Paul Galvez on Sunday, who said the department welcomed the Chinese leadership's recent announcement affirming its commitment to peace, but questioned why China displayed offensive weaponry at the Sept 3 parade. "China has sent a loud and clear message to the world through its V-Day celebrations, which is that we should cherish and safeguard the hard-won peace," Hong said. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized peaceful development at the celebrations. "No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation," said Xi. Xi also announced that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000. "The stronger China becomes, the stronger will be the world's force for maintaining peace," said Hong Lei. According to Hong, foreign leaders attending China's celebrations, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, spoke highly of the event and praised the Chinese people's great sacrifice and contribution to the victory in World War II. He noted that the celebrations were broadly representative as foreign participants came from all continents. ^ top ^

China releases American Christian activist held near North Korean border after serving nine-month sentence (SCMP)
2015-09-07
China has convicted and released a Korean-American Christian aid worker arrested near its border with North Korea after holding him for nine months, his lawyer said on Monday. Peter Hahn, a North Korean-born US citizen, was detained late last year in a Chinese border city where he had founded a Christian charity providing aid to North Korea. Authorities released Hahn on August 17, after a court sentenced him to nine months in jail for “counterfeiting receipts”, his lawyer Zhang Peihong said. Hahn, in his 70s, is currently recovering from unspecified health problems in the South Korean capital Seoul, Zhang added. Many Christian groups – often run by South Koreans – are active along the sensitive border. Most operate underground because mainland China bans foreign missionaries and arrests refugees attempting to escape North Korea. Hahn's arrest came after a Canadian Christian couple who ran a coffee shop in the Chinese border city of Dandong in Liaoning province were detained on espionage charges. That couple, Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt, aided North Korean Christians fleeing the country and their detentions sparked an outcry from Canada. Julia Dawn Garratt was released on bail in February, China said, adding her husband had been placed under formal criminal detention. Hahn has been active in the border city of Tumen in Jilin province since the late 1990s. He set up a vocational school for local teenagers in 2002. Zhang said that in court Hahn “admitted that he used some fake receipts in China to save money, but maintained he was innocent of a crime”. The US embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Chinese authorities often count prison terms as beginning at the time of initial detention, and Zhang said Hahn served a full sentence. “He can't come back to China at the moment... all his projects are currently suspended,” he said. ^ top ^

Japan "being ridiculous" in V-Day parade complaints (Xinhua)
2015-09-07
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Monday urged Japan "to stop being ridiculous" over its complaints about UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attending last week's World War II commemorative events in Beijing. "It was very natural for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to attend the activities on behalf of the United Nations," said Hong Lei. "We urge [Japan] to stop being ridiculous and making trouble," he added. Tokyo formally complained to the UN at the end of August about Ban's plan to attend the Sept. 03 events, which included a large military parade. Japanese government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga questioned the UN's neutrality. In an interview with China's state-run broadcaster CCTV that aired on Saturday, Ban said, "There is some misperception that the UN secretary-general or UN organization is a neutral body. It cannot be a neutral body in a sense. It is an impartial body." He added that the main purpose of his participation was "to learn from the past and look for a better future." The commemorations were held to remember history, pay tribute to war dead and cherish peace, Hong said. "These are also important elements of the UN Charter." Part of the UN's role is to help prevent countries entering wars and "following the same old disastrous roads," according to the spokesperson. "How can the UN be neutral on the issues of commemorating the anti-fascist victory as well as peace and justice?" Hong asked. "I suggest [Japanese politicians] read the UN Charter carefully, face up to and reflect upon their country's history of aggression and work to win trust from neighboring countries and the international community," he said. ^ top ^

China's "Belt and Road" initiatives to strengthen Dubai's role in Mideast: official (Xinhua)
2015-09-07
The China-proposed "Belt and Road" initiatives will reinforce Dubai's role as trade and logistics hub in the region, a senior economic official said on Sunday. Hani R. Al-Hamli, the secretary general of the Dubai Economic Council, said in an interview with Xinhua that Dubai, with the most open economy in the Gulf region, is aware of how much it could benefit from being a node on the new Silk Road. The Silk Road Economic Belt, together with the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, commonly known as the "Belt and Road" initiatives, were proposed by China in 2013. The initiatives bring together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa via overland and maritime networks, with the purpose of boosting infrastructure building, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges in those regions. Al-Hamli said Dubai is one of the most growing cities in the region and considered a trade and logistic hub for China because of its geographic location as center of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. He made the remarks ahead of the China-Arab States Expo to be held in Yinchuan, capital city of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China, during September 10-13. Al-Hamli said Dubai will try to deepen the economic relation with China through the event. "This expo will become an essential platform for high-level dialogue, policy communication, economic and trade cooperation between China and the Arab states," he said. Dubai, home of the biggest airport and commercial maritime port in the Middle East, is considered the business center of the United Arab Emirates. In 2014, China surpassed India as the UAE's biggest trading partner. ^ top ^

China pledges to help revive Russia's ailing Far East region (SCMP)
2015-09-06
China and Russia look set to broaden their cooperation following pledges to jointly develop Russia's ailing Far East region, a state media commentary said on Sunday in an attempt to dispel concerns of gloomy prospects for Sino-Russian ties brought on by the economic downturn. Backing President Vladimir Putin's drive for new sources of growth, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on Saturday that Russia's push to revive the run-down region coincided with Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" strategy. Wang made the assessment at an economic forum in Vladivostok just days after Putin visited Beijing for a military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war - a move seen as boosting the united front between Beijing and Moscow. A commentary by state-run Xinhua said the development of Russia's Far East would create opportunities for cooperation between the two nations, and was expected to open "new horizons in mutual cooperation between the two". Putin's latest trip to Beijing came amid slowing economic growth in China in the wake of a recent stock market rout, which have both raised concerns about future economic cooperation between the two nations, and a possible reduction in China's demand for energy from Russia. The slower growth and the stock market rout have prompted Beijing to cut interest rates and devalue the yuan to boost the economy. But the commentary said Chinese enterprises were willing to take part in the development of the Far East region. "More practical cooperation between the two nations concerning the Far East will be launched," it said, adding it is an appropriate move to link up the region development with Beijing's "One Belt One Road" push, an initiative aimed at boosting trade and infrastructure links. "Russia has a good and unique logistical advantage in the Far East region, and this can make a significant contribution," it said. ^ top ^

Chinese navy sends Washington a message by patrolling near largest US state Alaska (SCMP)
2015-09-05
The PLA Navy may have had a low-key presence during Beijing's military parade, but its manoeuvres elsewhere still had an international audience - particularly at the US Pentagon. Shortly before the parade, five PLA ships were spotted making a rare visit to the Bering Sea off Alaska, in a move military observers say was aimed at demonstrating the navy's reach and ability to operate near the US coast and Arctic Ocean. The vessels were seen sailing towards some Alaskan atolls during a visit to the region by US President Barack Obama and by Friday had already started their return journey, US naval chief Admiral Jonathan Greenert told Reuters. The flotilla included three combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious landing ship. The Pentagon said the ships were in international waters and did not pose a threat. China's defence ministry said the ships had been taking part in a routine drill joining military exercises with Russian forces off Vladivostok, about 3,000km to the south of the Bering Sea, in late August. "This is a routine arrangement as part of annual plans, and is not aimed at any set country or goal," it said. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it was the first time the US had observed Chinese navy ships in the Bering Sea. "We certainly respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law," he said. The ships' presence in the sea was designed to send a message, according to Su Guan-chiun, a Taipei-based military commentator. He said it was a PLA tradition to choose symbolic return routes after military drills - such as the international waters off Japan's Hokkaido. "By sailing the Bering Sea, the PLA Navy is [showing] the US [it] is capable of reaching these waters," Su said. Su had been perplexed when reports said replenishment vessels had attended the drill with Russia. "It meant the navy was planning more operations. Now it all makes sense - they planned to sail the Bering Sea before returning home," he said. Li Jie, a retired senior navy colonel, said it was normal for the PLA Navy to explore seas it had not sailed before, given its blue-water ambitions and attention to the Arctic shipping route. "The Chinese navy should no longer limit itself in offshore areas," he said. "It needs to sail the Arctic Ocean to learn more about this region, its hydrological characteristics … to ensure safety of navigation there," Li said. China unveiled plans to extend its reach into open seas in a defence white paper in May. The paper also highlighted the importance of protecting the country's overseas interests. In his speech during the parade, President Xi Jinping pledged to downsize the military. Retired major general Xu Guangyu, an adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said the initiative would target land forces and savings would be spent on the navy. "It's a must for China to strengthen the navy with its national interests expanding overseas and more nationals living outside the country … especially in the wake of [Xi's] 'One Belt, One Road' initiative," he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Whistle-blowing Chinese journalist vows to continue exposing corruption as Beijing prosecutors drop charges of defamation (SCMP)
2015-09-11
Whistle-blowing journalist Liu Hu has vowed to continue with investigative journalism, after Beijing prosecutors decided not to indict him with defamation for posting online reports about corrupt officials. Liu Hu was arrested by Beijing police in August 2013, after he posted a series of articles online alleging the corruption of several officials, some of them at vice-ministerial level. Liu, who had been working with Guangzhou's New Express at the time, was released on bail after almost a year in August 2014. Prosecutors in Beijing told him on Thursday that his charge had been dropped, due to insufficient evidence. “I will still go after clues about corruption if I have them,” said Liu Hu, 40, now a reporter with Chongqing's Changjiang Times. “It's not that I fear anything, but I might publish [allegations] in the paper, instead of putting them online in my name,” he said. Liu's arrest in 2013 raised eyebrows as the Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog had pledged to “get to the bottom” of graft as part of President Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption campaign, and Liu seemed to be helping. Two of the officials mentioned in Liu's posts, including former China Resources chairman Song Lin, were targeted by corruption inspectors in the months following Liu's arrest. The party announced an investigation into Song last April. Yet Liu remained in custody until last August, when he was released on bail. Liu's arrest also came amid a nationwide campaign to crack down on online rumours, during which various critics and whistle-blowers were arrested on various charges. Charles Xue Biqun, a billionaire venture capitalist who was once very critical of the government, was in August detained for soliciting prostitutes. Police later said Xue was suspected of “gathered pruriency” but he was released on bail last April, six months after his arrest. Yet questions still remain whether Liu's whistle-blowing posts are merely rumours. “My facts are sound,” Liu said of the articles he posted two years ago. “Now my name is clear.” Zhou Ze, Liu's attorney, said the prosecutor's decision did not entail any judgment about whether Liu's reports were true. Liu should not be charged with defamation, as long as he did not fabricate the information on purpose, Zhou added. “We hope discipline inspectors will investigate what Liu reported, but we have no idea whether they will,” he added. Since the prosecutors don't think Liu committed defamation, the police who arrested him are suspected of abuse of power, Zhou said. Liu would seek compensation for the year's detention, Zhou said. ^ top ^

Logging off: Chinese internet celebrity Guo Meimei jailed for five years for running illegal casinos (SCMP)
2015-09-11
Chinese internet celebrity Guo Meimei and an associate, Zhao Xiaolai, were both jailed on Thursday after being convicted of running an illegal casino by a Beijing court. Guo – who first gained mainland notoriety in 2011 after falsely claiming to work for the state-backed Red Cross Society of China and openly flaunting her wealth and extravagant lifestyle on social media – was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 50,000 yuan (HK$61,000) at Dongcheng District Court. She had denied the charge. Zhao, who had admitted the charge, was jailed for two years and fined 20,000 yuan. At the start of the one-day hearing Guo admitted taking part in illegal gambling and inviting people to play high-stakes poker at an apartment in Beijing, but denied she had been running an illegal casino. Guo appeared in court dressed in a white blouse and black trousers, wearing glasses and without make-up and her hair tied behind her head – in stark contrast to her glamorous image in the past. She agreed with many of the prosecution's claims, including asking a group of people to play Texas Hold'em poker between March and July 2013. The court was told she organised three different nights of gambling, involving the use of money totalling 2.1 million yuan (about HK$2.5 million), at an apartment complex in Chaoyang district. Zhao had helped Guo collect money from poker players during the gambling nights using a point-of-sale computer terminal in the apartment, prosecutors said. Other associates, who will face trial at a later date, include Guo's former boyfriend. Guo said the man, who is foreigner, was a professional poker player and used gambling as his main source of income. She was arrested by Beijing police in July last year – one month after suggesting on her microblog that she “could play a role” in the soccer 2014 World Cup that was about to get under way. Guo was held on suspicion of running gambling sessions, engaging in prostitution and posting fraudulent information on her website during the World Cup. State-run China Central Television aired her confession in August last year, in which she apologised for her luxurious lifestyle and for also damaging the reputation of the Red Cross Society of China, which she had claimed to represent. The charges Guo faced on Thursday did not include her alleged involvement in prostitution, nor any alleged relationship with a “sugar daddy” Shenzhen businessman, who had reportedly funded her luxury lifestyle. […] The incident triggered public concerns about embezzlement and the improper management of charities. The Red Cross in China, registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, suffered a huge drop in donations after Guo flaunted photographs of herself with a Maserati sports cars and luxury bags on her social media account. […] ^ top ^

Punishment of steel executive sends out warning to SOEs (China Daily)
2015-09-11
The removal of a senior executive of Baosteel Group from his post for misusing public money and receiving gifts sends out a stern warning from the top anti-graft authority to other officials in State-owned enterprises. Zhao Kun, deputy general manager of Baosteel Group, the parent of Baoshan Iron & Steel, was removed from his post in August for breaking austerity rules, including spending public money on extravagant receptions and having others pay for his games of golf. According to a statement by the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection on Wednesday, Zhao used company money on exorbitant accommodations in villas when he attended company meetings in August and December 2013, and on sightseeing tours. He spent nearly 50,000 yuan ($7,800) of company money on fancy receptions in June 2013 and March last year and was also found to have accepted expensive cigars from his subordinates six times since 2013. The commission underscored that State-owned enterprises are not exempt from strict implementation of Party rules, noting that some senior executives turned a deaf ear to the leadership's repeated calls for anti-graft regulations and did not stop their wrongdoings even after they were urged to obey the austerity rules. "Being a senior executive of a State-owned enterprise, Zhao ignored self-discipline, failed to fulfill his responsibility and jeopardized moral standards," the statement said. The commission urged Party committees at State-owned enterprises to step up management and supervision of senior executives and earnestly apply Party discipline. It warned that it would impose stiffer penalties on those who have violated the "eight-point" frugality rules. In addition, the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection announced on Thursday that it will publish on its website the results of inspections into 25 SOEs. Zhao joined a long list of officials caught up in the anti-graft campaign launched since late 2012. According to the National Audit Office, more than 250 people in SOEs have been disciplined. Fifty-six cases involving "serious violations of Party discipline and laws" have been handed over to anti-graft departments and law enforcement since the anti-graft campaign began in late 2012. ^ top ^

Judges shocked by courthouse stabbings (China Daily)
2015-09-11
The stabbing of four judges in a courthouse in Hubei province has raised concerns about judges' working conditions in China. The suspect was arrested in the basement of the Shiyan No 1 Intermediate People's Court, where the attack took place on Wednesday, said Kong Lingxue, spokesman for the Shiyan police. One judge who was seriously injured remained in the intensive care unit, police said, but none of the judges had life-threatening injuries. According to the court, the suspect, Hu Qinggang, 43, smuggled a knife into the courthouse, where he was to receive a verdict in a labor dispute. Judge Liu Tan took Hu to her office to deliver the verdict. Hu was not happy with the result and stabbed Liu and Zheng Fei, another judge who shared an office with Liu. He later stabbed another two judges who rushed to the office. "Only two words could express my feelings after reading the news, anger and bitter disappointment," said a judge from Guangdong province, asking to remain anonymous and adding that the news quickly spread among judges. "When the mob stabbed doctors, you cheered; when the mob hurt police, you cheered; when the mob stabbed judges, you cheered; but when the mob stabbed you, who can protect you or justice," the judge said, adding that he wrote the verse after hearing the news to express his feelings. "We are under extreme pressure in our daily work. What we expect is only trust and respect from society," he said, adding that judges shoulder more responsibilities than other occupations. "The public authority of judges has not yet been founded in China.... Judges should have tougher self-discipline requirements for themselves to establish the image of justice, and ordinary people should be accustomed to respect the law," said Bi Yuqian, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law. "It is not shocking that a judge is stabbed in China. There is not a big difference between judges and other government employees. If the same case happened in other countries, it would be very shocking because judges represent social justice and law," Bi said. However, the professor also said that judges should be more careful about their behavior. ^ top ^

Govt cracks down on editors accepting bribes to delete negative online reports (Global Times)
2015-09-10
Staff members at prominent news portals have faced imprisonment in a special campaign to crack down on those deleting negative posts for profit and online blackmail that has been ongoing since January. The campaign was launched on January 21, jointly chaired by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. The authorities discovered that an ifeng.com editor surnamed Qiu had accepted 118,000 yuan ($18,000) to delete posts on the portal's website, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday. Qiu charged 800 yuan for each article he deleted and Beijing's Chaoyang District Court handed Qiu a five-year prison sentence for taking bribes in June. The Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate issued a judicial interpretation in September 2013, saying the deleting of information for profits was illegal and should be punished. […] A total of 136 websites that were judged to have serious problems were investigated by local cyberspace offices, including ce.cn, a business news portal sponsored by the Beijing-based Economic Daily, and youth.cn, a news portal under the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China. Since January, over 9 million pieces of information were deleted for profit on the Chinese Internet. In response, the authorities removed or filtered over 9,000 keywords related to post-deletion search engines. One Web editor, who allegedly made 7.8 million yuan by deleting posts in four years, said that the business of paid post-deleting could generate over 100 million yuan per year and provide thousands of PR jobs, according to the Xinhua report. The industry dedicated to removing negative information online on the behalf of businesses and individuals has existed for a long time, Zhu Wei, deputy director with the Research Center of Law of Communication, China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times. The industry is especially busy during government crackdowns, such as campaigns to safeguard food safety or eliminate corruption, said Zhu, adding that negative reports can be especially damaging at these times. […] A total of 13,883 accounts on five of China's major websites (sina.com.cn, sohu.com, qq.com, 163.com and baidu.com) have been shut down or blocked for illegal practices, according to a CAC statement in April. China will set a long-term mechanism to clean up online blackmail and for-profit post deletion, including a tip-off system, said the CAC on August 27. The CAC has long been encouraging the public to report online violations. It has promised prompt responses, personal privacy protection as well as financial rewards. Those who are found to have deleted posts online for profit or to have blackmailed others will be placed onto a blacklist. The blacklist will affect the annual CAC review of the website who employed the violator, and affect the official qualifications of the guilty editor, according to a report on CAC website in February 2015. Despite the Supreme People's Court's interpretation, post-deleting was not regarded as being illegal or against the law by those who provided the service until this campaign was launched, said a former manager of a post-deleting company surnamed Liu. He added that the post-deleting industry has shrunk since January and that "now we know it's illegal and obviously nobody will take the risk." ^ top ^

[Henan] Policeman shot dead in shoot-out with Uygurs in China (SCMP)
2015-09-10
Two people died in a shoot-out between Uygurs and police officers in Henan province and at least two Uygurs were on the run, US-based Radio Free Asia said yesterday. More than 10 shots were fired in the skirmish near an antique market in Zhengzhou late on Monday, leaving a Uygur and a police officer dead, the report said. One of the Uygurs fled in a red Nissan vehicle while another took off in a white Hyundai car, taxi drivers and traffic police officers said. A hotel worker said police had ordered them not to accept guests from Xinjiang and to report "any abnormalities". There were no official reports on the shooting, and the cause is not yet known. The provincial government, municipal government and police could not be reached for comment. Ethnic disputes involving Uygurs are not limited to the Xinjiang region. Knife-wielding Uygurs injured at least nine people at a railway station in Guangzhou in March. A year before that, knife-wielding assailants said to be from a separatist "terrorist gang" from Xinjiang slashed people at a railway station in Kunming in an attack that left 29 people dead and more than 140 others injured. Authorities blamed that attack on separatist militants from the restive western region of Xinjiang. Last month, dozens of people were jailed in Xinjiang for cases involving illegal border crossings, state media reported, saying they sought to wage "holy war" and had committed crimes including organising or funding "terrorist groups". Beijing says some people are trafficked across the border and end up fighting for groups such as Islamic State. ^ top ^

Local govt persuades woman to abort baby (Global Times)
2015-09-09
Discussions over China's one-child policy reignited after a local government in Yunnan Province reportedly persuaded a woman to have an abortion for violating the policy if she wants her husband to retain his government job. According to a local government statement, the woman surnamed Chen is about 8 months' pregnant whose husband works as a local civil servant. Already the mother of a 13-year-old, Chen violated the population-control policy. "The couple is not eligible to have a second child since none of them is the only child in their families. We respect lives and the couple's wishes, but they should take responsibility," an officer from the Chuxiong government told the Global Times on Tuesday. The current one-child policy states that couples are not allow to have a second child if neither of them are the only child, and that civil servants will lose their job if they violate the policy. "My husband wants me to get an abortion because he will lose his job," Chen told the media. Ma Yinan, a law professor at Beijing University and an expert on China's population-control policy, said the local government's move has shown that everyone should follow government regulations. "Normally people pay the social support fee for their second child to avoid having an abortion. But in this case, the husband works for the government, so all he has to do is to quit his job to keep the child," Ma told the Global Times. "While forcing an abortion falls far short of the initial goals of our population-control policy, the local government has offered Chen and her husband a choice," Ma said. "The old policy cannot keep pace with China's current population status. The government is making efforts to relax the policy. More laws will be made to prevent similar incidents in the future," Ma noted. In 2014, China eased the decades-long one-child policy, which now allows couples to have two children if either of them is an only child, reported the Xinhua News Agency. The news went viral. Most Chinese netizens sympathized with Chen, saying she faces a very tough choice. "The policy is not wrong. As a civil servant, the husband should have known the consequences," a netizen wrote on Sina Weibo. ^ top ^

Draft law aims to promote film industry, regulate content (Global Times)
2015-09-08
China's State Council on Tuesday approved a draft law which aims to promote the country's film industry over two decades after it was first drafted, a move insiders said will attempt to better regulate the industry and boost international cooperation. The cabinet said that they will submit the draft to the lawmakers of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for ratification but did not reveal the specific contents of the latest draft. China's film industry has developed rapidly in recent years with domestic box office revenues growing from 1 billion yuan ($157 million) in 2003 to 29.6 billion yuan in 2014, media reported. Analysts say that the highly-anticipated law has finally moved forward in response to the advancement of the film industry and will promote reforms of the market, while many still call for a film classification system to help filmmakers understand what kind of content they can include in their works. According to media reports, the law was first drafted early in 1984 and was last publicly issued by the State Council in 2011 to solicit public opinions. It is not yet clear what changes, if any, have been made to the law's text since 2011. According to the 2011 draft, a number of financial and tax measures, including preferential land policies to help companies build more cinemas and an increase in government-funded film projects, will be implemented to promote the industry's development The draft also said that the number of certificates that film producers need to acquire before they can make movies will be reduced, and the certificates and administrative approval procedures that will still be required will be easier to navigate. […] Che also said that although China's film industry has been growing by 30 percent annually, lots of problems have gradually emerged. […] According to the 2011 draft, cinemas which screen pre-movie advertisements will be fined up to 200,000 yuan and can also have their film-screening licenses revoked, and they could also face punishment for infringing film-related intellectual property rights and concealing box office revenue. Yu Hao, vice president of Phoenix Legend Films, told news portal cri.cn that the law might help his company cooperate with overseas filmmakers if it optimizes the process of getting permission to work with an overseas company, as the draft text claims it will. The draft also requires local governments to boost the market in rural areas by screening one movie in every village monthly. It also demands authorities include films in public education and make sure students watch films "beneficial for their growth" twice each semester. However, some insiders said that the draft has added restrictions regarding content, which should be further explained. According to the statement, films which encourage religious fanaticism or damage religious harmony are prohibited. Films which depict drug use, violence and gambling or contain pornographic content or criminal methods are also banned. Li Junlin, another film director, told the Global Times that "the draft law fails to regulate what level of violence is allowed and define what kind of footage or lines goes against the Constitution or the Party." Li called for the establishment of a film rating system which will give Chinese movie studios more latitude to create diverse films. […] A film that depicted the affair between historical beauty Yang Yuhuan and a Tang Dynasty (618-907) emperor, was required to remove a scene that showed the pair having sex while on a horse, with the emperor tearing off Yang's clothes, after it was leaked and posted online. ^ top ^

China executes two sexual criminals (Xinhua)
2015-09-07
Two men found guilty of sexually assaulting underage students have been executed following the orders of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC), an SPC statement said Monday. To address frequent sexual assaults of minors, China has given heavier punishments to offenders and warned students and parents to have greater safety awareness, the SPC said. The two criminals include Wang Yong, who deceived schoolgirls to visit him via online chatting and raped 16 of them between 2010 and 2012 in east China's Anhui Province, causing severe damage to their physical and mental health. Eight of the 16 girls were under 14 years of age. Wang also committed crimes of extortion. Hu Cunbiao assaulted and robbed women and schoolgirls who were alone on the roads from 2004 to 2012 in east China's Shandong Province, and raped 11, seven of whom were under 14 years old, causing severe injuries to one girl. Hu also acted indecently against seven children and a juvenile, and committed robbery. The SPC urged all primary and middle schools to improve sexual and online safety education and increase awareness to protect themselves. It also called for efforts from families, schools, society and judicial organs to prevent and reduce sexual assaults against minors. ^ top ^

We want you: Chinese anti-graft watchdog seeks public tip-offs on corrupt officials (SCMP)
2015-09-07
China top anti-corruption watchdog wants to follow in the capital's crime-fighting footsteps by enlisting the public to tip off the authorities about wayward officials. In a commentary in the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection's flagship newspaper on the weekend, the CCDI said it should follow the example of the Beijing police and encourage the general public to report corruption. The commentary in the China Discipline Inspection Daily said police in the capital had fully mobilised the public in getting tip-offs about crime. Beijing police have sought to enlist two types of groups in the campaign - "Chaoyang residents" and "Xicheng grandmas", representing them in cartoon images released on the force's official microblog. The police have also printed T-shirts with the cartoon images to be handed out to those who help report any strange activities in the city. "Are there any 'Chaoyang residents' in the fight against corruption?" the CCDI commentary said. "The public can play a very significant role in the crackdown on corruption." According to municipal police, tip-offs from the public have brought down many high-profile people, including Jaycee Chan, the son of kung fu star Jackie Chan, and Chinese-American venture capitalist Charles Xue, one of the most prominent liberal voices on Chinese social media. The commentary said "Xicheng grandmas" - enthusiastic and eagle-eyed women in Xicheng district - had made great contributions to preventing crime and curbing illegal activities. It said the general public was encouraged by President Xi Jinping's crackdown on "tigers and flies" - high and low-ranking officials - and more enthusiastic about blowing the whistle on corrupt cadres. The CCDI said that in one unnamed province, the local discipline inspection branch received around 3,000 letters a month from local residents reporting suspected corrupt officials. And in Henan, the cases of over 40 per cent of the Communist Party cadres under investigation were the result of tip-offs from local residents. There were also more ways for the general public send in tips about suspected corruption, the CCDI said, including a new website for people at home and abroad to leave information about fugitives and recovering their stolen funds. But it said the public still feared retaliation, and steps were needed to ensure security. The CCDI has also set up a webpage for people to report on officials using the Mid-Autumn Festival as an excuse to waste public money. The festival has long been associated with corruption among officials because of gift-giving and extravagance during the holidays. Mooncakes, a traditional snack given as gifts over the festive season, have become more elaborate and expensive, often costing more than 1,000 yuan (HK$1,260) per tin. There have even been mooncakes cast in silver or gold as collectibles. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Online mediation makes court debut in Shanghai (China Daily)
2015-09-09
The first online pre-litigation mediation platform in Shanghai was put into use by a district court on Tuesday, partly in response to a rising number of civil cases involving a foreign party. Foreign entities often find it hard to attend mediations, a process in which disputes can be settled outside of courtrooms. Now, with mediations moving online, a plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit no longer need to be physically present in a courtroom with a judge. Instead, they can all go online through video chat software to talk things over and reach an agreement. A rising number of civil and commercial cases in the city involve foreign parties. Civil cases have increased an average of 11 percent per year for the past five years. "In Pudong New District, where the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone is located and many foreigners work and live, the number of cases involving a foreign party is higher," said Cao Zhengquan, director of litigation services for the People's Court of Shanghai Pudong New District. "So we resort to online mediation to provide people a way that makes mediation more convenient, efficient and less costly." Cao said his department has dealt with many divorce and debt dispute cases that involve people who live in a foreign country. It often took a long time for the two parties to exchange evidence and submit materials to the court, and it was especially inconvenient if someone involved in a case was from a country that does not have judicial cooperation with China. In such cases, the court had to ask for help from that country's consulate, Cao said. "Now with video and audio available for online mediations, the two parties can present evidence during the video chat that can be accepted as legal proof," he said. Online mediations will be used in cases with clear facts, where the rights and obligations of the parties involved are unambiguous and in cases that do not include a lot of evidence, such as disputes over loans or labor contracts. Cases involving private lending and changes in custody can also be mediated online. People who want to use the platform need to download a special application and log in with a user name and password provided by the court. Then they can participate in the video call. Shi Yifeng, a judge on the court's civil tribunal, used the online platform to mediate a civil dispute on Tuesday. A young couple divorced three years ago and the husband was given custody of their daughter. Recently the woman brought a lawsuit against her ex-husband claiming he takes poor care of the girl, and she asked to be awarded custody. Shi and the ex-husband were together in the courtroom, but the woman participated from home using the online platform. "It went smoothly," Shi said. "After an hourlong mediation, the two sides reached an amicable settlement, with the man agreeing to transfer the daughter's custody to his ex-wife." According to Cao, the litigation director, more courts will likely adopt online mediation as Internet technology continues to mature. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Free trade zones, "Belt and Road" initiatives take priority at Hong Kong-Guangdong cooperation conference (Xinhua)
2015-09-10
The development of free trade zones and opportunities brought along by the "Belt and Road" initiatives took priority at the 18th Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference held here on Wednesday. Zhu Xiaodan, Governor of China's Guangdong Province, said Guangdong and Hong Kong are taking the lead in liberalizing trade in services. Guangdong could make more use of Hong Kong's competitive edge as the city is an international shipping center, financial center and trade center. Zhu, who led the Guangdong delegation to the conference, said the newly formed Guangdong Free Trade Zone would open to Hong Kong companies and investors. He also mentioned that the "Belt and Road " development initiatives provided ample opportunities for Guangdong province and Hong Kong and enabled the two places to deepen their cooperation. Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Leung Chun-ying said Hong Kong highly values cooperation with Guangdong, and the two places could make joint efforts in seizing the vast opportunities provided by the "Belt and Road" initiatives in the coming decades. Guangdong and Hong Kong signed a number of cooperative agreements on education, food safety, e-commerce, intellectual property and joint rescue coordination during the conference. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China stresses social stability over economy in Tibet 50th anniversary address (SCMP)
2015-09-09
China's top ethnic affairs official stressed social stability over economic growth in his speech on Tuesday marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet autonomous region. The comments were made during a ceremony in front of thousands of students, soldiers, and officials gathered outside the Potala Palace in the regional capital of Lhasa. Beijing's administration of Tibet has been controversial and a source of diplomatic tension with other nations ever since it was "peacefully liberated" by troops more than six decades ago. Activists and human rights organisations say the central government has adopted a policy of religious and cultural oppression, while encouraging mass Han migration to transform the region's identity - accusations Beijing denies. But the anniversary speech by Yu Zhengsheng, the Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of ethnic and religious issues, focused on national and ethnic unity, making them the first point of his address. "In order to govern the border areas, we must first keep Tibet stable," Yu said. "We must take ethnic unity as our lifeblood." Work remained in getting people from different ethnic groups to identify with Chinese nationality and the Communist Party, he said. Yu also pledged to crack down on separatist activity and maintain the "normal order" of Tibetan Buddhism. Economic development, Beijing's top priority in Tibet for the past several decades, was relegated to Yu's third point. His remarks hewed closely to the position that President Xi Jinping laid down in a speech he delivered at the state leaders' conference on Tibet late last month. State media echoed the position, with People's Daily's overseas edition saying it was unnecessary for officials in Tibet to stress economic growth as their counterparts elsewhere on the mainland did. Battling separatism was more important, it said. Robert Barnett, director of Columbia University's modern Tibetan studies programme, said both speeches indicated a shift of policy emphasis from "development" to "stability". "The reality on the ground is that 'stability' has been the top priority in Tibet for some 25 years now, but it's unusual, if not unique, for a state leader to state that openly," Barnett said. "That's a big setback for any officials looking to emphasise culture, conciliation or consultation with Tibetans." The shift could be a reflection of Xi's "assertive style of leadership", or a sense among leaders that the state-driven economic boom in Tibet had finally been accepted, he said. […] ^ top ^

CPC leadership only way for Tibet's autonomy: central authorities (Xinhua)
2015-09-08
Chinese central authorities sent a congratulation message for the 50th founding anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Tuesday, stressing the Communist Party of China's (CPC) leadership is the only way for Tibet to realize real autonomy. "Only by sticking to the CPC's leadership and the ethnic autonomy system, can Tibetans be their own masters and enjoy a sustainable economic development and long-term stability," according to the message sent by the CPC Central Committee. Since the establishment of the autonomous region in 1965, Tibet has realized a historical leap forward in its social system. Over the past 50 years, the Party has led the people of the region to make epoch-making achievements, said the message, citing electoral rights, improved living standards and well-protected religion and culture. Tibetan people must adhere to the Party's strategy of governing Tibet, and take national unity, ethnic solidarity as major tasks to ensure national security and Tibet's long-term stability, it read. The People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police and judicial staff in Tibet must consolidate the unity with the people and make more contributions to Tibet's reform and development, it said. ^ top ^

China vows deepened war against Tibet separatists (Xinhua)
2015-09-08
China strengthened its resolve to crack down on all kinds of separatist activities, top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng vowed Tuesday at a ceremony marking the 50th founding anniversary of Tibet Autonomous Region. The anti-separatist campaign safeguards national unity and regional stability, said Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. "Tibet has entered a new stage of sustained stability after people of all ethnic groups together fought against separatism, successfully foiling sabotage attempts by the 14th Dalai Lama group and international hostile forces," Yu told a rally of senior officials and thousands of Tibetan people gathered in front of the Potala Palace. Tibet plays an important role in safeguarding national security, and it is in the interests of all Tibetan people to maintain national unity and ethnic solidarity, he noted. Border areas must be well managed to successfully govern the country, he stressed, and stability in Tibet is paramount to the management of these areas. On Monday, Yu, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged all Army, police and judicial staff in Tibet to be prepared for a protracted battle with the clique of the 14th Dalai Lama. Yu called for improvements to "governing Tibet according to law," with a focus on rooting out separatist forces, strengthening social management and protecting the rights of the public. ^ top ^

Rights to ratify Dalai restated (Global Times)
2015-09-07
China on Sunday restated the central government's right to ratify the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, as a white paper on Tibet was issued to explain the current regional ethnic autonomous policy on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. "No matter what the Dalai Lama says or does, the central government's recognized rights toward reincarnation cannot be denied," Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the Tibet Autonomous Region's United Front Work Department said on Sunday at a press conference in Beijing. The remarks came in response to a question about the whereabouts of 26-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima, who had been named by the Dalai Lama in exile as the Panchen Lama - the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism - when he was 6 years old. […] Between 1653 and 1713, emperors under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) established the system of lot-drawing from the golden urn to confirm the "soul boy" among the candidates, according to the white paper, titled "Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet." However, the Dalai Lama just selected Gedhun Choekyi Nyima from the list of candidates at will, without a lot-drawing ceremony in Tibet, Qin said. "Besides, the system features political concerns inherently," said Penpa Lhamo, deputy head of the contemporary studies institute of the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences. She said that it was established by Qing emperors in a bid to proclaim the central government's sovereignty over Tibet and to stabilize the local political situation where interest groups and the aristocracy had selected their family members as Living Buddhas to gain more political potency. Although the current central government is led by the Communist Party of China which upholds atheism, the central government is still responsible for stability in Tibet, she told the Global Times. […] The Living Buddha reincarnation is proceeding well. Tibet now has 358 Living Buddhas, more than 60 of whom have been confirmed through historical conventions and traditional religious rituals, according to the white paper. The 14th Dalai Lama's "government-in-exile," which advertised itself as a democratic government, accused the Chinese government of depriving Tibetans of freedoms of speech and expression, as well as religion and personal liberty, according to a statement issued by the "government-in-exile" to mark the 55th anniversary of "Tibetan Democracy Day" on Wednesday. […] The "middle way" is a political ideal advocated by the 14th Dalai Lama, who calls for a "Greater Tibet" with "a high degree of autonomy" within China. A government document issued in April slammed the notion, calling it an attempt to create a "state within a state" on Chinese territory as an interim step toward the ultimate goal of full independence. Meanwhile, top Chinese political advisor Yu Zhengsheng on Sunday arrived in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, leading a central government delegation to attend festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the region's founding. Yu visited Tibetan-ethnic leaders and their families Sunday afternoon, praising their "selfless contribution" to the construction of the region. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Global laundering ring pumped billions in Colombian drug money through Hong Kong banks: US prosecutors (SCMP)
2015-09-11
US authorities have charged three Colombian nationals with helping to run a global money laundering network that processed billions of dollars in drug trafficking profits through bank accounts in China and Hong Kong. The Guangzhou-based organisation brought in at least US$5 billion in Colombian drug proceeds routed from the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Canada, as well as parts of Africa and Europe, according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The banks involved were not identified in the indictment. One of the three men, Henry Poveda, appeared in court on Thursday; the other two men, Christian Duque-Aristizabal and John Jairo Hincapie-Ramirez, are in custody in Panama and Colombia, respectively, awaiting extradition proceedings. All three face a single count of conspiracy to launder money. A fourth defendant connected to the case, a Hong Kong woman named Luo Yuling, previously pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to launder money. Luo faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced. She was arrested in September 2014 at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey during a layover between Panama City and Hong Kong, according to prosecutors. Assistant US Attorney Amir Toossi told U.S. District Judge Carol Begley Amon that other defendants remain at large. They have not been publicly identified. According to the indictment, the Guangzhou organisation used Chinese casinos, currency exchange houses, export companies and factories to receive billions of dollars in drug proceeds. The only "Chinese casinos" are in Macau. The money travelled through accounts in Hong Kong and China and eventually was used to purchase products, often counterfeit consumer goods, that were shipped to Colombia and other countries, prosecutors said. Poveda's court-appointed lawyer, Mia Eisner-Grynberg, declined to comment on the case. She and Toossi told Amon they have engaged in preliminary plea discussions. US authorities have pressed banks in recent years to improve anti-money laundering safeguards. In 2012, HSBC Holdings paid US$1.9 billion to resolve claims it allowed drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia to launder proceeds through its banks. Jodi Avergun, an attorney at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and a former US Drug Enforcement Administration official, said US authorities might be able to go after the Chinese banks if US-based branches were used in the alleged transactions. “It really depends on what banks were involved, whether the money movement triggered any alarms,” she said. ^ top ^

Regina Ip and Bernard Chan, 'contenders' in 2017 race for Hong Kong chief executive, take a big step forward with business launch (SCMP)
2015-09-08
Two widely tipped potential contestants in the 2017 chief executive race have set up an umbrella society of business groups to tap openings offered by Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" strategy, a move observers see as their first step on the path to the top post. The Maritime Silk Road Society, launched with much fanfare at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai yesterday, is co-chaired by New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and her fellow Executive Council member Bernard Chan. The membership list is a who's who of political and business elites. Former National People's Congress vice-chairman Professor Xu Jialu is an adviser; Shun Tak Holdings managing director Pansy Ho Chiu-king and ex-chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen are honorary presidents. Ip said the society was set up in support of the nation's economic strategy, "partly to leverage Hong Kong's unique position … in promoting intra-regional business, trade and cultural exchange, and partly to identify new developmental opportunities for Hong Kong". City University analyst James Sung Lap-kung said: "It is almost an open secret Ip would like to contest the chief executive election. But her network in the pro-China business sector is weak. She may make use of Mr Chan's network to expand her web. "Chan can also consolidate his own network with the society. Even if neither of them runs at the end of the day, it is very much politically correct to do something to support the initiative." Ip wanted to run for chief executive in 2012 but dropped the plan because she had too few supporters on the 1,200-strong election committee. Chan is a dark horse in the race. He has repeatedly said he does not plan to run but the speculation refuses to die down. Zhou Bo, deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, officiated at the ceremony with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the foreign ministry's deputy commissioner in Hong Kong, Tong Xiaoling, and the director of the central government's liaison office, Zhang Xiaoming. The "one belt, one road" plan was initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe, and the Maritime Silk Road, connecting China to Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. ^ top ^

Pan-democrats team up at district level to push for Hong Kong reform as consensus agreed on talking to Beijing (SCMP)
2015-09-10
Hong Kong's pan-democrats today said they would enhance their cooperation by setting up new groups at district level to press for reform of the roles of district councils in the city's political system. The idea was agreed on at a meeting today, where consensus was also reached on the importance of having direct and regular communication with Beijing. Former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah attended to brief his pan-democratic colleagues on his meetings with Beijing officials recently during his visit to the capital. Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said: “The pan-democrats' position has always been that it is important to maintain direct and regular communication with the central government.” On the district groups of pan-democrats, Leong said: “We hope to be able to step up cooperation and unity at the district council level. “District councils play an important role in Hong Kong's political system. Six lawmakers are from the district councils. And district councillors are also given seats on the committee that selects the chief executive.” Meanwhile, Democratic Party chairman Emily Lau Wai-hing said she respected founding member Tik Chi-yuen's decision to quit the party. Tik is leaving the party to form a new moderate think tank alongside ex-lawmaker Nelson Wong Sing-chi, who was expelled by the Democrats in July for calling on his allies to back the Beijing-decreed political reform plan for the city if certain conditions were met. Lau denied that the Democrats could not tolerate dissenting opinions. “We encourage discussion in the party,” she said. “Tik is entitled to his views. But I can say that the Democratic Party is very much open to dissenting voices.” She added she was not worried that Tik's departure would affect the unity of the party. But she said it was too early to speculate on the impact on it could have on the Democrats' performance in the coming elections. Democrat lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan added: “Tik has openly talked about his intention to resign. So it didn't come as a big surprise. “His differences with the party brewed since the debates on political reforms. “But I would like to stress that being a moderate pan-democrat does not mean you have to accept unreasonable things imposed on you. “And it is not radical when you refuse to give up your principles.” ^ top ^

Maritime Silk Road Society inaugurated in Hong Kong to explore development opportunities (Xinhua)
2015-09-07
The Maritime Silk Road Society ( MSRS) was inaugurated here on Monday to explore new development opportunities for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the context of the "Belt and Road" initiatives. "The Maritime Silk Road Society has been established in support of the nation's grand 'One Belt, One Road' strategy, partly to leverage Hong Kong's unique position as the linchpin between Chinese mainland and overseas countries and regions in promoting intra-region business, trade and cultural exchange, and partly to identify new developmental opportunities for Hong Kong," Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, co-chair of the MSRS, said at the inauguration ceremony. Historically Hong Kong was a transit port along the ancient maritime Silk Road, she said, adding that today Hong Kong can make significant contributions to the implementation of the "Belt and Road" initiatives by leveraging its unique advantages in business know-how, trade and culture. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, are aimed at reviving the ancient trade routes that span Asia, Africa and Europe. "As a highly sophisticated financial center, Hong Kong has great potential in functioning as a fund-raising platform for the infrastructural development under the aegis of this strategy," she said. The Maritime Silk Road Society, according to the co-chair, is expected to bring together Hong Kong's community and provide full support to this unprecedented national project. Xu Jialu, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of China's top legislature, the National People's Congress, sent a congratulatory message to the MSRS inauguration. In the message, he said Hong Kong, a melting pot of eastern and western cultures, would play an important role in facilitating cultural exchanges as well as trade and commerce alongside related countries and regions. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Military exercises to simulate attack by mainland China (SCMP)
2015-09-10
Taiwan's military is simulating attacks by mainland China this week as Beijing prepares to hold three-days of live-fire drills across the sea from the island later this week. Taiwan's military exercises, larger this year than in the past, follow televised images from the mainland on July 22 depicting a mock ground troop attack on a red tower and attached low-rise buildings that resembled Taiwan's presidential compound. The mainland is Taiwan's only major potential military threat and the two sides are separated by an ocean strait that is 160 km across at its narrowest point. “Our most crucial goal is to simulate safeguarding against a possible attack from mainland China, whether on Taiwan itself, an outlying island post, our marine military space or our airspace,” deputy defence ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said. The drills, running from Monday to Friday and known as the Han Kuang Exercise, involve 69 more aircraft than last year, Taiwan's government-funded Central News Agency reported. Many of the 63 drills will emphasise land-sea-air coordination. Some drills are testing homegrown military hardware, including a drone system and Taiwan's first indigenous stealth missile corvette warship, Chen said. Mainland China's Maritime Safety Administration gave details in a statement of coordinates off the coast of Quanzhou for military exercises that will start on Friday and finish on Sunday. It gave no other details. Taipei's defence ministry said they were aware of the annual drills, which it described as routine. Quanzhou lies between two small groups of islands, Kinmen and Wu-chiu, that have been controlled by Taiwan since 1949. Mainland China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the 1940s when communist forces routed Nationalist troops in a civil war. The Nationalists fled to Taiwan, which Beijing says must eventually be unified with the mainland. The two sides have set aside their political dispute since 2008 to open a dialogue that has led to more than 20 agreements on trade and investment, but the deals have failed to help Beijing's hopes of endearing Taiwan's public to the idea of unification. Relations with Beijing could cool after a new president takes office in Taipei next May. The January 16 election frontrunner has proposed no mechanism for dialogue that the mainland is likely to accept. Current President Ma Ying-jeou must step down next year due to term limits. ^ top ^

Taiwan eases curbs on its firms making semiconductors in mainland China (SCMP)
2015-09-08
Taiwan has relaxed curbs on its companies setting up semiconductor manufacturing plants in mainland China, in a bid to enable them to better compete for mainland clients. The island's economics ministry said it would allow a maximum of three wholly-owned 12-inch wafer foundries to be set up on the mainland by Taiwanese companies, easing previous rules that limited such investments to mostly older technology and to joint ventures. Amid political tensions between the neighbours, Taiwan has restricted manufacturing activities of its prized semiconductor sector in China, with an eye to protecting intellectual property and trade secrets. However, competition from the mainland's fast-growing, though fledgling chip industry, has put pressure on Taiwanese companies to widen their mainland footprint. Foreign companies are also building their presence in the mainland. While Samsung Electronics already has a huge chip plant in mainland China, Intel and Qualcomm have announced investments in China. As a result, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and its smaller domestic rivals had urged the island nation to relax the curbs. Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control. But relations have improved in recent years. The relaxation was detailed in revised regulations posted on the ministry's website that took effect on Friday. Taiwan already allows 8-inch plants, which tend to use less cutting-edge technology, to operate in mainland China as joint ventures. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world's largest contract chipmaker, has said that its mainland clients would prefer to work with the company there and that it could see itself expanding production on the mainland. A company representative said on Tuesday the company was still evaluating the potential of setting up a new 12-inch plant on the mainland. The new investments would come at a time Beijing is keen to attract foreign capital and foreign chip technologies into the country. They would also underscore how global tech firms are still keen to invest in China despite risks of its slowing economy and a weakening currency. Late last year, Taiwanese authorities gave United Microelectronics, the island's second-biggest contract chipmaker, the nod to invest US$710.64 million in a joint venture 12-inch wafer plant in Xiamen with mainland partners. United Microelectronics has said that the Xiamen investment could reach US$1.35 billion over five years and that it would ultimately look to take full ownership of the plant. ^ top ^

China's massive display of military might rattles nerves of Taiwan, already wary of Beijing's aims (SCMP)
2015-09-05
Beijing accomplished its goal of bolstering national pride at home with the war anniversary parade, but the event has only increased mistrust across the Taiwan Strait, analysts say. And with the island gearing up for a presidential election in January, the ruling Kuomintang has been saddled with a vexing problem after former chairman Lien Chan broke with party wishes and attended the celebration in the mainland capital, further denting their chances at the ballot box. Lien claimed his visit was aimed at sending a message to mainlanders about the true contribution of the Nationalist forces in driving the Japanese out of China. The Communist Party has long attributed the victory to Mao Zedong's army, minimising the role played by Chiang Kai-shek's soldiers, a revisionism that helps glorify the party but which angers Taiwanese. President Xi Jinping offered an olive branch, but extended it only so far. In his speech on Thursday morning, Xi sought to cast the war effort as transcending Communist or KMT lines. "With tremendous sacrifice, the Chinese people have made great contribution to the anti-fascist war at the major battlefield in the east," Xi said. In a further gesture, Beijing arranged for veterans of the Nationalist forces to be part of the parade. But such moves appeared to have failed to sway many Taiwanese, and the military posturing has only further rattled their nerves, experts say. "Most Taiwanese don't share any collective memories of the war, since it was a Japanese colony then," Taiwan-based veteran political observer Wang Hsing-ching said. "They will only feel threatened by the rise of China when seeing the parade, at the time when anti-Beijing sentiment is high." Niu Tse-hsun, another political commentator, said the display only fuelled anxiety over Beijing. "The controversy over history has become another source of cross-strait tension, as the Ma administration confronts Beijing's version of history," he said. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou posted a message on his Facebook page saying it was the KMT that led the war against the Japanese, and the Communist Party played no "pivotal role". The KMT often turned up its anti-Beijing rhetoric during election years, Wang said. It trails in the polls behind the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, which is expected to stoke the parade controversy. "It can be used by the DPP to trigger internal conflict in the KMT. It can also be used as a card to stir up Taiwanese identity in face of the military threat" from Beijing, Niu said. Protestors threw a shoe at members of Lien's entourage as they arrived at Taoyuan airport in Taiwan late on Thursday from Beijing, the Central News Agency reported. The party might take disciplinary action against him, the United Evening News said. ^ top ^

 

Economy
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang rejects economic quick fix in favour of reform (SCMP)
2015-09-11
Premier Li Keqiang has ruled out using quantitative easing as a policy to help stimulate growth in the world's second-largest economy, instead pledging reform and more entrepreneurship. During his speech to the World Economic Forum yesterday in Dalian, Liaoning province, Li said quantitative easing alone could not solve structural problems in economic growth and it would lead to negative and spillover effects. It was not the first time he had dismissed the possibility of strong stimulus, but his remarks, in the wake of the release of headline inflation figures, dashed hopes for an immediate move to reinvigorate the economy and signalled the leadership would stick to the long road to address imbalances. […] "There are still many tools in China's macro-economic policy toolbox, just like playing Go," Li said, referring to the ancient Chinese game. The government was taking necessary and precise measures "aimed at narrowing short-term economic volatility and preventing it from spreading and exacerbating". "Once there are signs the economy has slipped beyond the proper range, we will have sufficient ability to address risks. China won't see a hard landing in its economy," he said. Earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics released a mixed price data report that showed the consumer price index rose 2 per cent last month, year on year, beating market expectations. The negative real interest rate - when inflation is greater than the nominal interest rate - will continue. Bureau data also showed the producer price index fell at its fastest monthly clip in six years, at 5.9 per cent, indicating lingering pressure of overcapacity and insufficient demand. Higher or lower economic growth was acceptable as long as employment and residential income remained strong and environmental protection efforts improved, Li said. The government had refrained from flooding the system with money but instead relied on reforms to offset slower economic growth, he said, adding measures had already started to take effect. Fu Bingtao, an economist at the Agricultural Bank of China, said the government was less worried about short-term indicators and more concerned the broader situation was within its expectations. "It doesn't matter whether GDP slows to 6.8 per cent or 6.5 per cent. The key is at which level the economy would stabilise. We care about long-term performance, such as the progress of structural changes and whether risks can be controlled," Fu said. The government's target for 2015 growth is 7 per cent. Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy, said on the forum sidelines that the biggest challenge was to ensure economic reforms continued to move forward, although the speed of progress might slow as the government needed to stabilise growth. The ability of local governments to help bolster the economy would remain limited as they were heavily encumbered by debt, Lin said. They were expecting Beijing to step up infrastructure spending in the short term to breathe life into the economy and help enterprises maintain profits. Li also said the government would open the domestic currency market to overseas monetary authorities, allowing them to buy or sell through the interbank mechanism. Beijing would also establish a cross-border yuan payment system by year's end. […] ^ top ^

China's Premier Li Keqiang plays down fears of global currency war, vows to keep yuan stable (SCMP)
2015-09-11
Premier Li Keqiang sought to play down concerns about a global currency war and Beijing's ability to maintain a stable yuan as he addressed business chiefs at the start of the World Economic Forum meeting on Wednesday. Li gave assurances as he spoke to the international business community for the first time to try to restore confidence in China's economic and financial markets in the aftermath of the July stock market rout and last month's sudden devaluation of the yuan. "We don't hope to depreciate the yuan to stimulate exports. This is not in line with the direction of structural adjustment. And we do not want to see a global currency war because it would only do harm to China," Li said in response to a question from Boston Consulting Group president Rich Lesser on the yuan's devaluation and the outlook for its globalisation. The People's Bank of China surprised the world on August 11 with a nearly 2 per cent devaluation of the yuan against the US dollar and the start of a three-day weakening of the currency. Those moves caused tension in global markets. Li said exporters feared they would lose long-term orders if the market expected continued falls in the yuan. He also said ongoing depreciation was not a policy option for the currency's internationalisation. He said China's monetary authorities adjusted the yuan's parity mechanism in response to global market conditions brought on by decisions by many countries to let their currencies fall against the US dollar. "China is not the origin of risks for the world economy; we are the source to drive global economic growth," Li said. He added that the yuan had appreciated 15 per cent in real terms since the start of his administration. "There is no basis for continuous depreciation of the yuan, China's economic performance is within a reasonable range, we have sufficient foreign exchange reserves and the trade surplus is growing - all these factors indicate the yuan's exchange rate can be kept basically stable at a reasonable level," Li said. His comments come after a slew of dismal economic data this week. August exports fell 5.5 per cent year-on-year in US dollar terms and imports plunged 13.8 per cent. The figures added to concerns economic weakness would continue in the current quarter, while a record fall in foreign exchange reserves raised the spectre of capital outflows. Li admitted the economy faced downward pressure and there was volatility, but the outlook was promising and he pledged to promote market-oriented reforms. He ruled out big policy responses for short-term swings in economic indicators, pledging targeted macro controls and policy fine-tuning. He said Beijing's measures to counter abnormal volatility in stock markets were designed to stop risks from spreading, adding they had "safeguards against systemic risks". ^ top ^

Chinese stock exhanges plan to install bourse-wide 'circuit breakers' to prevent panic selling (SCMP)
2015-09-08
Mainland stock exchanges plan to install bourse-wide "circuit breakers" to stop panic selling after botched official efforts to stop plunges in the volatile A-share market. Beijing is also preparing to deleverage the market, determined to rid it of the speculative funds that helped drive the recent boom-to-bust share cycle. The stepped-up intervention bodes ill for market reforms. Charles Li Xiaojia, chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, said authorities were expected to delay the long-heralded Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect scheme. Under the new plan, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges will halt trading for 30 minutes when the CSI300 index that tracks the 300 biggest mainland-listed firms jumps or slumps 5 per cent in intraday trading. They will stop for the day if it soars or dives by 7 per cent, the exchanges said yesterday. The circuit breaker system also applies to CSI300 index futures at the China Financial Futures Exchange in Shanghai. The public will have until September 21 to give feedback on the idea. The announcement of the circuit breakers came just a day after the China Securities Regulatory Commission said it was "studying" plans for such a system. The exchanges said the decision was aimed at "maintaining market order, protecting investors' interests and boosting the long-term healthy development of the capital market". Also yesterday, the Ministry of Finance announced that from today it would further cut the taxes investors pay on cash dividends from listed firms. It is part of Beijing's push to encourage long-term investment in stocks. Beijing stepped in to put a floor under the plummeting stocks in early July after the benchmark index slid more than 30 per cent in three weeks. It suspended new share offerings, set up rescue funds and ordered major shareholders to bulk up share purchases. But the intervention proved ineffective as the market headed down again last month, closing at 3,080.42 yesterday, 12 per cent shy of the pre-rescue-effort level. Dragon Life Insurance fund manager Wu Kan said: "The regulators are willing to do anything to restore investor confidence." The CSRC said it was launching a seventh round of investigations, looking into "market manipulators". It also said it had effectively cleaned up the grey financing market where an estimated 2 trillion yuan (HK$2.4 trillion) was illegally extended to retail investors to buy shares. Forced liquidations of accounts using the grey-market margin loans were believed to be the main weight on the share market. Activity at official margin lending businesses also fell dramatically, with outstanding value at about 1 trillion yuan, down from the peak of 2.3 trillion yuan in June, the CSRC said. "The efforts to deleverage the market are a double-edged sword," Shanghai-based hedge fund manager Dong Jun said. "They curb irrational buying … but also shut out fresh funds." Beijing has not granted new foreign-exchange quotas for residents to invest in overseas equities since March. The Shanghai stock exchange also said it would further restrict trading in exchange-traded fund options to ensure smooth operation of the options market. ^ top ^

Overhaul of Chinese state-owned firms splits them into commercial and not-for-profit operations (SCMP)
2015-09-11
Beijing has issued new guidelines for state-owned enterprises, splitting them into two main groups – those that are commercially orientated, and others that are focused on not-for-profit operations, sources said. Commercial enterprises in competitive industries will sell equity stakes to other investors and seek stock listings, while SOEs related to national security will be remain in state control, the people said. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission – the agency overseeing the government's companies – said the reform guidelines would be released soon. Sasac did not reply to a request for comment on the plans. In the mainland's largest overhaul of its bloated businesses since the late 1990s, various government branches will next start to map out detailed plans that potentially affect tens of thousands of companies with estimated assets of about US$16 trillion. A quicker pace of SOE reform may intensify speculation over which will be reorganised, potentially adding to what's already been a volatile year for stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Serving state-owned-asset supervisors should shift from managing individual enterprises to state capital management, according to people briefed on the proposal. As part of the reforms, one principal is to enhance leadership of the Communist Party in the state-owned enterprises, the people said. JPMorgan Chase estimates there are more than 150,000 SOEs across the country, accounting for 17 per cent of urban employment and almost 80 per cent of the CSI 300 Index on the mainland. The last time Beijing made a big push to reform its industries was in the 1990s under then-premier Zhu Rongji. That drive resulted in more than 60,000 business closures and 30 million layoffs, according to JPMorgan. ^ top ^

China revises 2014 GDP down to 7.3% (Global Times)
2015-09-08
China on Monday lowered its GDP growth figure for last year by 0.1 percentage points to 7.3 percent, experts said the move is a "normal adjustment" that the public should not be over concerned with. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday that it had revised China's economic growth rate in 2014 to 7.3 percent from the previously released figure of 7.4 percent. The previous 7.4 percent figure, released in January, was the lowest since 1990. The announcement came amid mounting concerns over slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy. Several foreign media suggested that the recent downbeat data has raised concerns that China will struggle to reach this year's goal of about 7 percent. "The public should not panic because a revised GDP growth is often slightly lower," Zhang Yiping, analyst at China Merchants Securities, told the Global Times on Monday. The slight drop indicated that China's economy is still facing the downward pressure, Zhang said noting that more efforts should be made to achieve the growth target of 7 percent in 2015. China's top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, said that the government "will be able to achieve its annual economic growth target", which has been set at 7 percent. Over the weekend, Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China's central bank, said that the recent corrective process in China's stock market is roughly in place, and a more stable financial market is expected, reported the Xinhua News Agency. Zhou pointed out that the government had rolled out a string of policies, including central bank liquidity support, to arrest the free fall and have helped prevent systematic risks. The country's gross domestic product last year totaled 63.614 trillion yuan ($10 trillion), NBS said on Monday. It is down 32.4 billion yuan from its initial estimate in January of this year. The change amounted to less than 0.1 percent of China's overall economy. The statistics bureau said the number could be revised once again when it releases final results in January 2016. The main reason for the change was the service industry, which the agency said grew by 7.8 percent rather than 8.1 percent. Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said that the Chinese government does not focus on short term fluctuations in the economy. He said that in the long run, China will continue to implement policies to maintain price stability and steady growth in the job market. China will not make any major policy adjustments over a change in one economic indicator, he said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia-USA consultations focus on lasting partnerships (Montsame)
2015-09-10
The 10th annual bilateral consultations (ABCs) between the governments of Mongolia and the United States were held on Tuesday the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ulaanbaatar. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel led the U.S delegation, which also included Deputy Assistant Secretary Susan Thornton, whereas the State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr D Gankhuyag led the Mongolian government delegation at the talks. The United States and Mongolia discussed economic and commercial ties, U.S. support for Mongolia's peacekeeping efforts, and regional security. Mr Russel noted that this year's ABCs were especially important because they occurred after the revival of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks. The U.S. delegation also expressed its support for Mongolia's 25 years of democratic progress and its commitment to being a role model for developing democracies. ^ top ^

Mongolia wants to have permanent status of neutrality (Montsame)
2010-09-10
At its meeting held on Tuesday, the National Security Council (NSC) discussed and backed an initiative of the Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj on maintaining a permanent status of neutrality. The NSC has issued a recommendation on necessity for realizing the President's initiative, and then proposed the President to formulate a bill on the Mongolian status of neutrality as well as parliament to form a legal basis for supporting the permanent status of neutrality. The initiative also has been suggested to the government to issue a resolution on declaring the Mongolia's permanent status of neutrality and to make it endorsed by other countries and international organizations. The NSC considered that Mongolia needs to form and declare its policy and actions for neutralism within a goal of maintaining peaceful, multi-pillar and balanced foreign policy and defending itself by political and diplomatic methods. Key principles of the policy on maintaining the status of neutrality are reflected in the Constitution of Mongolia, the law on deploying and transit foreign military force, the law on the nuclear weapon-free status, the concepts of the National Security and Foreign Policy and the state policy on military. This is a legal and policy basis for declaring the permanent status of neutrality. ^ top ^

New Ministers receive seals (Montsame)
2015-09-10
The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg Tuesday granted seals to the newly appointed Ministers who were passed on a plenary meeting of the irregular parliamentary session. During the presentation of the seals, the Deputy Premier Ts.Oyunbaatar highlighted that the new Ministers have taken their duties in difficult times of the national economy. “Many urgent works are waiting for you to complete. All of the Ministers should fulfill their works with high responsibilities and fair principles. I am hopeful that the members of the cabinet will join their efforts,” he said. Present at the ceremony were L.Purevsuren, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; D.Erdenebat, the Minister of Industry; R.Jigjid, the Minister of Mining, the S.Erdene, the Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare; Sh.Solongo, First Deputy Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government; G.Ganbold, a Deputy Head of the Cabinet Secretariat. ^ top ^

President of Mongolia meets with his counterpart of China (Montsame)
2015-09-10
Taking part in the 70th anniversary of the Liberation War of 1945 or the end of the World War in Asia, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Thursday met with Xi Jinping, the President of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Expressing thanks to Mr Elbegdorj for taking part in events of the 70th anniversary on the victory on Liberation War, the PRC President considered that participation of Mongolia in the anniversary with big a group of delegates is an expression of attaching a great importance to its ties with China. Noting that the Mongolia-China relations and cooperation have been enhancing, Mr Xi emphasized China has an aspiration to stepping up the bilateral comprehensive strategic relations in all spheres. In response, the President of Mongolia Mr Elbegdorj said he is happy for attending the anniversary events and for the participation of Mongolian troops in the military parade. He also talked about a reception for Mongolian war veterans who fought in the Liberation War. Mr Elbegdorj mentioned that the Mongolia-China economic and trade cooperation is a main factor of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership ties, and underlined the countries are possible to deepen the relations. The parties highlighted that developing the Mongolia's “Steppe's road” initiative, coordinating it with the “Silk road” initiative of China is a vital direction of the bilateral economic relations. Then Mr Xi said his country will positively resolve a matter of supplying meat products from Mongolia. The Mongolia's President expressed thanks to China for rendering support and assistance to Mongolia for hosting the ASEM Summit to be held in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar. He hoped that Mr Xi will take part in the forthcoming ASEM Summit, and congratulated the China's government and people on winning a bid of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. ^ top ^

Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren to visit Russia (Montsame)
2015-09-08
The Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren will visit the Russian Federation on September 10-11, 2015. In frames of the upcoming visit, Mr Purevsuren and his counterpart of Russia Mr S.V.Lavrov will hold official talks. The Foreign Minister will meet with Mr S.Ye.Donskoy, the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology and head of the Russia-Mongolia intergovernmental commission for trade, economy, science and technical cooperation for the Russian side; and Mr A.N.Tkachev, the Russian Minister of Agriculture. During these meetings, the sides will conclude a course of the bilateral strategic partnership relations and cooperation and will exchange proposals and information on new opportunities. In addition, the parties will share views on forwarding some works, regional and international issues. ^ top ^

Deputy PM and some Ministers appointed (Montsame)
2015-09-08
A plenary meeting of the irregular session of the State Great Khural (parliament) is discussing appointment of some Ministers. According to the draft resolution submitted to parliament, Ts.Oyunbaatar MP has been nominated for the post of Deputy Prime Minister; M.Zorigt MP--Minister of Road and Transportation; B.Bolor MP--Minister of Finance; Z.Bayanselenge MP--Minister of Construction and Urban Development; N.Battsereg--Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism; and G.Bayarsaikhan--Minister of Labor. After discussions and Q&As over the appointment issues, Ts.Oyunbaatar was appointed as the Deputy Premier with 89.7% votes of the parliamentarians. Furthermore, N.Battsereg became the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism with 88.1% votes; B.Bolor--the Minister of Finance; and G.Bayarsaikhan MP--the Minister of Labor. Appointments of other candidate Ministers are continuing at the plenary meeting. ^ top ^

All parties of Mongolia to discuss draft amendment to election law (Infomongolia)
2015-09-06
The meeting of all political parties of Mongolia themed "National Consensus" was held on September 03, 2015 at the State Palace of Mongolia at the invitation of the Mongolian People's Party to have open discussion regarding amendments on election law and constitution and also issues regarding the election. The Chairman of Mongolian People's Party (MPP) M.Enkhbold, the Secretary General of MPP J.Munkhbat, the Secretary General of Democratic Party of Mongolia (DP) L.Erkhembayar, Deputy Chairman of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) D.Terbishdagva, MP L.Bayanselenge, MP Ts.Oyunbaatar, the Chairman of Mongolian National Democratic Party M.Enkhsaikhan, the Chairman of Civil Will-Green Party Ts.Gankhuyag, the Chairman of Republican Party (RP) B.Jargalsaikhan and other chairmen of parties without seats in the parliament were in attendance. At the meeting, parties have managed to reach agreement on forming a joint working group to work on draft amendment to election law. They plan to submit it to the State Great Khural (Parliament of Mongolia) on October 01, 2015. MPP's Secretary General J.Munkhbat will join the working group. As MPP has protested some parts of amnesty law regarding the corruption and appointments before, on September 02 at meeting of regulatory council of MPP, participating parties were interested in MPP's position of amendment to election law. In other words, MPP doesn't agree to grant amnesty to criminals involved in corruptions. At the end of meeting, the MPP Chairman M.Enkhbold said: "As a leader of organizing party of the meeting, I would like to say that this meeting is not aiming to provoke any radical activities such as strife or revolution. I see that the parties without seats in the parliament have unified their own position regarding the amendment to election law. Judging opinions of parties' chairmen, I think we all agree that parliament is acting irresponsibly. I find that there are two steps in realization of agreement that we have reached today. First, 20 parties and 2 more that couldn't attend the meeting have agreed to form a working group to work on the draft amendment to election law. Second, all parties with the seats in the parliament and political groups and coalitions should discuss the drat amendment to election law prepared by parties among themselves and suggest their ideas. Thus we can jointly prepare the draft amendment to election law in 30 days. We will submit our draft amendment to the parliament on October 01, 2015."  ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
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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