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
  12-16.10.15, No. 592  
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Foreign Policy

'Don't interfere': Chinese ambassador warns UK not to raise human rights when Xi Jinping visits (SCMP)
2015-10-16
China's president, Xi Jinping, would feel offended if he is spoken to about Beijing's human rights record during his five-day state visit to Britain next week, China's ambassador to the UK has said. Liu Xiaoming said Britain was fast becoming the leader in terms of western countries with the best relations with China, and said he expected Xi's visit to “herald a golden era for the relationship”. But Liu suggested the president would not respond well if reprimanded on human rights during his visit. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has already promised to raise human rights issues next week, probably at a state banquet organised by the Queen. He has also been afforded a meeting with the Chinese leader at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening before the banquet. No 10 will be desperate that Corbyn does not make his views known in a way that offends the Chinese or jeopardises much-needed Chinese investments in UK infrastructure, including its nuclear power plants. Amnesty International has promised demonstrations in London in protest at China's human rights record. The group said: “The [Chinese] government has ratcheted up censorship of the internet, clamped down on civil society, increased its ideological controls over the media and academia, and launched several large-scale crackdowns on human rights defenders, lawyers, and activists. […] There were reports that the Prince of Wales, a friend of the Dalai Lama, would boycott the state banquet, although Clarence House said the prince would attend a lunch with the president and take tea with Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan. David Cameron and George Osborne have done all they can to strengthen relations with Beijing since 2012, when diplomatic relations nosedived after the prime minister met the Dalai Lama in London. Both men will be spending huge amounts of time with the president, both in formal talks at Downing Street, then at Chequers and finally in Manchester. […] Apart from human rights, the state visit may be overshadowed by sharp slowdown in Chinese growth – something that is likely have a major impact on the global economy and especially on the UK as the largest European investor in China and the largest destination in Europe for China's outward investment. Xi will spend four nights in Britain next week, staying at Buckingham Palace, giving a speech at Westminster, visiting the City of London UK-China business summit and flying to Manchester with Osborne to visit the National Graphene Institute as well as Manchester City football club. Xi is expected to use a speech at Guildhall next Wednesday to set out how he hopes to make London the global centre for offshore Chinese finance. Osborne has staked some of his political capital on the future of UK-China relations. The last state visit from China was by President Hu Jintao in 2005. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a state visit to China in 1986. “This is a major, historic opportunity for China-UK relations,” Liu said. There will be a rush to agree a number of Chinese inward investment deals, notably involving infrastructure, energy, banking and other financial services. British investors especially in the construction sector are hoping for contracts as China's urban population continues to grow. The urban population has roughly quadrupled in the last 35 years to more than 700 million and is projected to rise by a further 240 million over the next 35 years. ^ top ^

Beijing to host meeting with Asean defence ministers over South China Sea security and claims (SCMP)
2015-10-16
As expectations grow that the US Navy will directly challenge Beijing's South China Sea claims, China is engaging in some serious image-building for its own military by hosting two international security forums this week. The events kick off today with an informal meeting of defence ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) - four of which exercise claims to various islands and surrounding waters in the South China Sea that clash with Beijing's own. It is the first time China has hosted such a meeting. That will be followed by the Xiangshan Forum, at which analysts, military leaders and others from around the world will address Asian-Pacific security, maritime issues and anti-terrorism. "China wants to use these sorts of forums to promote China's views, explain its policies and improve its security image," said regional security expert Li Mingjiang of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. Since 2013, China has accelerated the construction of new islands atop reefs and atolls in the South China Sea and is adding buildings and airstrips in apparent attempts to boost its sovereignty claims to the territory. Unnamed Pentagon officials said last week that the US Navy may soon receive approval to sail a ship inside the 12-nautical mile (21km) territorial limit surrounding China's man-made islands, reported the Navy Times, which is closely affiliated with the US Navy. The Philippines, an Asean member, expressed support this week for such a move. Sailing within the boundary would mark the first time the US has directly challenged China's territorial claims since 2012 and reinforce Washington's assertion that the land reclamation does not add sovereign territory. The US and its allies, including the Philippines, insist that the newly made islands threaten stability in an increasingly militarised region. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday the artificial islands were created for the public good and had "nothing to do" with militarisation. China has also sparred with Vietnam, another Asean member, over ownership of the Paracel Islands, leading to a weeks-long confrontation last year when China moved an oil drilling platform into contested waters. On Thursday, Vietnam accused China of sinking one of its fishing boats near the disputed islands. There was no immediate evidence that any Chinese government ships were involved, although Beijing's aggressive actions are believed to embolden Chinese fishermen in the area. The defence ministry has said that the Asean gathering in Beijing is to "promote strategic trust and pragmatic cooperation". Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan will hold talks with his counterparts and host visits to military units. ^ top ^

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn plans to press Xi Jinping on China's human rights record (SCMP)
2015-10-15
Jeremy Corbyn will attempt to challenge China on their human rights record when he attends a state banquet to be held by the Queen for the country's president, Xi Jinping, next week. There had been speculation that Corbyn, as a republican, could send a substitute to the banquet but Labour has since confirmed he will attend Buckingham Palace for the ceremonial dinner. A spokesman for the Labour leader said: “He will be using the opportunity next week to raise the issue of human rights. There are meetings being discussed, and if he gets private meetings he will be raising it at those meetings. That is the right thing to do.” It is Corbyn's first invitation to a Buckingham Palace state dinner in his role as leader of the opposition. He was unable to make a previous visit to the royal residence to be sworn into the privy council, although he is expected to do so soon to receive classified security briefings. Since becoming Labour leader, Corbyn has taken a strong stance on the raising of human rights abuses with other states, and successfully pressed David Cameron to drop a prisons deal with Saudi Arabia. China has been criticised by campaigners for jailing critics of its communist government, media censorship and restricting personal freedom. However, George Osborne, stressed economic issues, rather than human rights, when he visited China for a trade trip last month. The chancellor said at the time: “This is primarily an economic and financial dialogue. We are two completely different political systems and we raise human rights issues, but I don't think that is inconsistent with also wanting to do more business with one-fifth of the world's population.” The Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, praised Osborne for being “the first western official in recent years who focused on business potential rather than raising a magnifying glass to the 'human rights issue'”. Osborne had been urged to raise the persecution of the Uygur minority during his trip to the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, a year after a court in the city imprisoned the government critic Ilham Tohti for life on charges of inciting separatism. Kate Allen, UK director of Amnesty International, criticised the chancellor's failure to mention Tohti's case and “sending the signal that the UK is willing to compromise its human rights values”. The UK supported an EU statement that raised concerns about China's detention of more than 100 activists and lawyers in July and called for their release. Hugo Swire, a Foreign Office minister, said last month he “remains concerned by the restrictions placed on Christianity in China”, citing the closure or demolition of churches, removal of crosses from buildings, and reports that individuals are harassed or detained for practising their beliefs. ^ top ^

Chinese President Xi Jinping to pledge multi-billion pound investments during state visit to UK to foster Sino-British ties (SCMP)
2015-10-15
President Xi Jinping will announce multibillion-pound investments on his first state visit to the UK next week to gild Sino-British ties once strained over the Dalai Lama. The two countries are expected to seal deals on nuclear and railway projects and announce the launch of sovereign debt in yuan in London during Xi's five-day trip to mark what British Prime Minister David Cameron described as the "golden year" of bilateral relations. "China and the UK should take high-speed rail and nuclear power plant projects as starting points to promote bilateral investment," assistant commerce minister Zhang Ji said. To woo Chinese investment, British Chancellor George Osborne announced the opening of bidding for the £11.8 billion (HK$140 billion) High Speed Two (HS2) rail link contracts when he visited China last month, though the project has yet to get the final approval of parliament. He also promised £2 billion in initial support for the Hinkley Point, a £16 billion nuclear power project in southwest England that two Chinese state-owned enterprises, China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear Corporation, are interested in financing. Beijing is seeking overseas markets to export its excess production capacity and maintain economic growth, while London embraces potential foreign investment, observers said. Tim Summers, senior consulting fellow at Chatham House, said China's motive for investing in the UK was "not primarily about keeping good bilateral relations, but about developing the overseas business and capabilities of Chinese companies ". Developed economies like the UK were ideal for Chinese investment given the high rates of return and low risk, said Ding Chun, a European affairs expert at Fudan University. London's under-investment in infrastructure had posed "huge transport and energy risks" for the country, with more than a fifth of its electricity capacity set to be decommissioned over the next decade, a 2014 report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research said. But local concern groups, such as Stop HS2, oppose the project on business, environmental, economic and employment grounds. Nevertheless, Cameron and the royal family have rolled out what British media described as the "reddest red carpet" for Xi. Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan will stay at Buckingham Palace and address parliament. The thorny issues of Tibet and Hong Kong will be downplayed during the visit, Summers said. Beijing gave Cameron the cold shoulder after he met the Dalai Lama in 2012, suspending the bilateral human rights dialogue. Cameron refused to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile in September. Osborne took a trade delegation to Xinjiang, despite criticism from rights groups on Beijing's religious persecution in the region. ^ top ^

Let's move on from past, says Shinzo Abe as China and Japan agree on system to avoid East China Sea clashes (Global Times)
2015-10-15
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for high-level dialogue with his Chinese counterparts as he told a top diplomat from Beijing that China should move on from “unfortunate past history”. As State Councillor Yang Jiechi yesterday concluded a two-day visit to Japan, the two neighbours agreed to launch a crisis management mechanism to prevent unintended clashes in the East China Sea as soon as possible. Yang's trip followed recent hiccups in historical and maritime territorial disputes that had frayed the slowly improving relationship between the countries. The visit is also seen as paving the way for a three-way summit between leaders from the two countries and South Korea later this month or early next month. In the meeting yesterday, Abe expressed regret over China's successful bid to register the Nanking massacre documents with Unesco. “I believe we should not excessively focus on our unfortunate past history, but that we should build future-oriented Japan-China relations,” Abe told Yang, China's top foreign policy official who outranks the foreign minister, according to a senior Japanese official. Relations between the two countries have been slowly improving since a rare summit between Abe and President Xi Jinping in November. But tensions flared again in recent months over a litany of issues ranging from the Unesco listing to Japan's passage of a security bill that could boost its military's footprint overseas. Despite the irritants, Abe called for more high-level dialogues, in particular with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of two regional summits next month. Li is expected to meet Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the anticipated three-way summit. Abe and Yang agreed to launch the crisis management mechanism – consisting of hotlines and regular consultations – as soon as possible. Yang expressed confidence in the trilateral summit, but called on Japan to properly handle historical and military issues, Xinhua reported. Negotiations on the mechanism had recently ground to a halt due to differences over whether the system should apply to the territorial waters around, and the sky above, a disputed island chain, which China calls the Diaoyus and Japan the Senkakus. The two neighbours have long feuded over Japan's wartime atrocities and the islands, which are currently administered by Japan. Rising nationalism in both countries has made it difficult for either government to scale down the tensions. In a move to temper public sentiment, Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times yesterday ran an editorial calling on civil groups to leave the task of managing bilateral ties to diplomats. The editorial also suggested that the public refrain from 8harbouring “hatred” for their neighbour. “China doesn't need an aggressive approach to show a grave and dignified bearing, because sticking to its own pace in development is enough to be awe-inspiring,” it said. The shifting tone underscored Beijing's realisation that an abrasive approach towards Japan would only help, rather than constrain, Abe, said Xie Yanmei, a senior analyst with International Crisis Group. “What you are seeing is part of a campaign aimed at managing nationalism so there is room for diplomacy to cool tensions 8between the two countries,” Xie said. ^ top ^

China, Russia to embrace more cooperation opportunities in Far East (Xinhua)
2015-10-15
China is embracing more cooperation opportunities with Russia after specific measures to develop Russia's Far East shared-border region were released during the second China-Russia Expo. "Laws and regulations related to the construction of Russia's Vladivostok free port and special development zone come into force today," said Vladimir Miklushevsky, governor of Russia's Primorsky Territory, at Monday's promotional meeting highlighting regional economic and investment potential for 25 Russian federal regions. "The free port will facilitate the integration of China's Belt and Road Initiative with Russia's plan of developing the far eastern region." Investors in the free port will be exempt from tax on profits in the first five years, saving around 30 percent of investment cost, according to Miklushevsky. Several other preferential policies from the 25 Russian federal regions were also released to potential Chinese investors during the meeting. "The administrative barriers for investment have been gradually broken down in our krai," according to Vyacheslav Shport, governor of the Khabarovsk Krai of Russian Federation. Related mechanisms and regulations have been improved to protect investors' rights and interests, and infrastructure construction has also made solid progress, Shport said. More than ten oblasts of the Russian Federation have established sound relationships with Chinese provinces, and the two countries will continue to expand ties and seek new opportunities to deepen bilateral cooperation, said Alexei Likhachev, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Development. Many Chinese firms also expressed their confidence in partner prospects with Russian counterparts. Railway, highway and electricity infrastructure construction and e-commerce were the focus of the exchanges. "Russia needs much support in infrastructure construction to develop its national economy, and our company is very interested in cooperating with Russian counterparts," said Du Chunguo, head of the overseas business with Power Construction Corporation of China. The China Harbin International Economic and Trade Fair started in 1990, and the China-Russia Exposition was upgraded last year to focus on bilateral cooperation between China and Russia. More than 4,000 Russian business people, among nearly 10,000 from 103 countries and regions, attended the expo this year. ^ top ^

China, LatAm seek new fields for business cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-10-14
A China-Latin American business summit kicked off Tuesday in Mexico's second-largest city of Guadalajara to seek ways to boost ties and explore business opportunities in new fields. Officials and nearly 2,000 business leaders from China and 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered for the two-day summit to discuss cooperation in technology, innovation, energy and agriculture, among other areas. Addressing the opening of the summit, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo praised Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Chinese President Xi Jinping for strengthening bilateral ties. Thanks to their leadership, "the relationship has been growing," said Guajardo, adding China is now Mexico's second-biggest trading partner, after the United States. Francisco Gonzalez, head of Mexico's export and investment promotion agency ProMexico, said "this event represents an excellent opportunity to strengthen trade and investment between 24 Latin American countries and China." Luo Fuhe, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), underscored the growing China-Latin America commercial ties, noting two-way trade has increased from 1.26 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to 263.6 billion dollars in 2014. "Latin America and the Caribbean are an important part of the global development of the emerging economies," said Luo. The region is currently holding negotiations on boosting inter-regional connections, said Luo. He added that countries have entered a new stage of development in telecommunications technology, as well as renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear power, the areas in which China can be "highly complementary." As China's economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent to 7 percent a year, the bilateral trade in goods still has room to grow, Luo said. China's goal is to double the trade to nearly 500 billion dollars in 10 years. The summit, the ninth of its kind, was organized by Mexico's ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, in conjunction with ProMexico. China is Latin America's second-largest source of imports, and the third largest destination for exports, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). ^ top ^

Air force now able to launch long-range, precision strikes (China Daily)
2015-10-14
The strategic bombers of the People's Liberation Army Air Force can now launch all-weather, long-range, precision strikes, military observers said. "The fact that our H-6K bombers have performed several long-distance drills far into the Pacific Ocean indicates that the H-6K fleet has become capable of conducting various operations such as long-range precision strikes," Fu Qianshao, an aviation equipment expert with the PLA Air Force, told China Daily on Tuesday. "In the past, our bombers could only deliver airdropped bombs and so were unable to conduct precision attacks, but the H-6K, with the adoption of some of our most advanced aeronautic technologies, is able to carry and launch air-to-surface cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles, which means it can take out multiple targets on the ground or at sea within one mission," he said. Such capability is indispensable for any air force if it wants to perform strategic missions, Fu said. "The PLA has defined its air force as a strategic force and pledged to obtain offensive capability for it. An air force with strategic aspirations must be able to perform long-range precision strike operations, so the H-6K is undoubtedly a valuable asset to the PLA Air Force," he added. His remarks came as PLA Daily reported that H-6Ks from a bomber unit under the Guangzhou Military Command flew several thousand kilometers to an unidentified airspace during a recent exercise and destroyed multiple targets using precision weapons. The bombers used sophisticated maneuvers and tactics to break through the "enemy defense" and overcame bad weather and the "enemy's electromagnetic blockage", the report said. The bomber unit is the first to use the H-6K and has flown out of the "first island chain" several times this year to perform long-range drills, according to the newspaper. PLA military theorists refer to two island "chains" as forming a geographic basis for China's maritime defensive perimeter. The precise boundaries of these chains have never been officially defined by the Chinese government. By commonly accepted definitions, the first island chain refers to a series of islands stretching from Japan in the north to the Philippines in the south. The second island chain runs from the Bonin Islands in the north and moves southward through the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the Caroline Islands. H-6K is the latest variant of the H-6 bomber and possibly the only one in the five-decade-old family that can be defined as a genuine strategic bomber. The original H-6 was developed based on the Soviet-era Tu-16 Badger, which was designed in the 1950s and retired by Russia in the early 1990s. "Even though the plane lacks stealth capacity, it still can carry out long-range strikes thanks to the capability of launching airborne cruise missiles," he said.. ^ top ^

Two more allies of China's former security tsar taken down, with each getting 20 years in jail (SCMP)
2015-10-14
Two former aides of China's disgraced security tsar Zhou Yongkang were each jailed for 20 years for graft yesterday, following the sentencing of his two key allies on Monday. Wang Yongchun, former deputy general manager of oil giant China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), was found guilty of taking 48 million yuan in bribes over more than a decade, possessing assets he could not account for, and abusing his position. He was fined 2million yuan (HK$2.45 million). The verdict was handed down by a court in Xiangyang in Hubei province and reported on its microblog. Wang received a lighter punishment because he confessed to his crimes and handed over his ill-gotten gains, it said, adding he would not appeal. Meanwhile, Guo Yongxiang - a former deputy governor of Sichuan province - was found guilty of receiving more than 43 million yuan in bribes, largely through his family network, between 2001 and 2013. Guo also had significant assets he could not source and was fined 2 million yuan. He cooperated with the investigation, and received a reduced sentence, said a court in Yichang city, also in Hubei. The rulings came a day after former CNPC chairman Jiang Jiemin was jailed for 16 years, and Li Chuncheng, once Sichuan province's deputy Communist Party chief, was given 13 years after both were found guilty of graft. Wang, 55, spent decades in the state oil sector during its boom era. The court found he took money from 67 sources between 2000 and 2013, and helped others run businesses that led to "particularly heavy losses of state interests" on instructions that Jiang made in 2004. The dismantling of Zhou's former power network continues further with the graft trial of JiWenlin, the former vice-governor of Hainan province and once a staunch ally. Ji is accused of illicitly receiving more than 20.4 million yuan in assets and bribes between 2002 and 2013, Xinhua said. He worked under Zhou when the latter was the party boss of Sichuan and also when he became security minister. A Tianjin court began trying the case yesterday. Zhou was sentenced to life imprisonment in June. ^ top ^

FM offers help for crisis in Syria (China Daily)
2015-10-13
Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for greater efforts in tackling the current humanitarian crisis in Syria, saying China will continue to offer help. Wang made the remarks when meeting on Monday with Bouthania Shaaban, political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who briefed him on the situation in Syria and explained the Syrian government's stance. Wang said the flow of refugees in the Middle East has seriously endangered the stability of the region and its surrounding areas, which need more efforts from all parties, including China, to lessen the impact. The foreign minister reiterated China's stance on solving the Syrian crisis via political settlement led by the United Nations, referring to it as the "fundamental way out".He said China welcomes all parties to initiate another round of political mediation. Wang proposed that all concerned parties take part in a third Geneva conference on Syria, to ensure full representation and inclusiveness. On combating terrorism, Wang said China supports anti-terrorism moves that abide with international laws, with agreement from the country concerned. He called for joint efforts in fighting terrorism with better communication and cooperation among all parties. Dong Manyuan, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said he believes Wang's three-point political analysis has cut to the core of the solution to the Syrian issue. "If the international community acts as Wang suggested, there is a high chance that this crisis in Syria will be properly handled and even resolved," Dong said. China is among the first to promote a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, and has been a "strong pusher" that actively and constantly contributes to this goal despite challenges, Dong said. "China's clear stance and proposition on the Syrian issue has demonstrated China's willingness and resolution to assume responsibility as a big nation in the new diplomacy," he added. "China cares about foreign issues that may influence international peace and stability, and is willing to work on them." Shaaban said Syria welcomes all efforts to solve its current crisis via political settlement and appreciates China's stance on this matter. She expressed her willingness to see more positive and important contributions from China. In 2012, Shaaban came to Beijing as the Syrian president's special envoy to talk with then-foreign minister Yang Jiechi and exchanged views on how to settle the ongoing crisis. ^ top ^

Chinese professor claims US spying charges 'ridiculous' (Global Times)
2015-10-13
A Chinese professor facing espionage charges in the US said he is under great pressure and the accusation reflects a pervasive bias by the US government against Chinese scholars and engineers, in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Monday. "I am under great pressure and what I wish now is to resume teaching and scientific research as soon as possible after I am cleared," said Zhang Hao, a 36-year-old professor at the School of Precision Instruments and Opto-electronics Engineering of Tianjin University and a former engineer at Massachusetts-based Skyworks Solutions. Six Chinese nationals, including Zhang and two other professors at Tianjin University, were charged by the US government with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets. The US government said they stole secrets from two US companies that develop technology that could be used in both civilian and military communication systems. China's foreign ministry expressed strong concerns about the accusations in a press briefing in May. Shocked at the accusations, Zhang said that "it is by no means acceptable that the US government accused us, since it is rightful to capitalize our own research results." Zhang was arrested upon his arrival in the US on May 16, and US Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California set bail for Zhang at $500,000 on July 8, on the condition that Zhang will not be deported until his case is completed, Reuters reported in July. A court hearing has been set for December 14, Zhang told the Global Times. Such litigation in the US is always time-consuming and the timetable is unpredictable, added Zhang, saying he has no idea when he can return to China. Chinese scholars and engineers who study or work in the US have suffered from discrimination, with the US government suspecting them of stealing technologies, which is ridiculous, said Zhang. The US Justice Department dropped charges against Xi Xiaoxing in September, a Temple University physics professor and expert in the field of superconductivity. Xi had been accused of sharing sensitive technology with China. Their priority is to defend ourselves through the legal process, added Zhang. Zhang has been meeting with his lawyer once a week after the court granted Zhang's motion to allow him to step out of his home. But Zhang still needs to wear a monitor. ^ top ^

Another success for Xi's anti-graft campaign as Malaysia repatriates fugitive ex-banker (SCMP)
2015-10-11
A suspect named on China's list of 100 corruption fugitives has been sent back from Malaysia, Xinhua has reported. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said yesterday that Malaysian police had detained former banking official Zhan Zaisheng. He was transferred to the mainland during the National Day holiday, which ended on October 7, Xinhua reported. Zhan allegedly profited from illegally raised funds involving more than 680 million yuan (HK$830 million). He worked at the Agricultural Bank of China in Fuqing county, Fujian. China has signed extradition treaties with 39 nations, but not Malaysia. The government launched operation "Sky Net" in April to go after suspects who had fled China, often taking large sums of money with them. The operation is part of an anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping after he assumed power in 2013. One component of Sky Net involves a nationwide operation to cut off illegal money transfers to overseas fugitives. Suspects usually transfer money to the domestic accounts of underground banks, who then ask their overseas partners to put the equivalent amount in designated accounts in foreign currencies, bypassing regulators. The focus on illegal money transfers had cracked 92 cases, involving more than 800 billion yuan, the Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday. ^ top ^

China turns on lighthouses on disputed Spratly Island reefs for 'navigational safety' amid South China Sea tensions (SCMP)
2015-10-11
China has started operating two lighthouses on a reef on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea - stressing the move is out of concern for civilian safety - even as the United States continues to consider sending its warships close to China's artificial islands in the region. The 50-metre-tall Huayang and Chigua lighthouses on Huayang Reef would improve navigational safety for ships, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. The structures would address a severe shortage in navigational aids and maritime emergency and oil-spill response forces that had "immensely hindered the navigational safety and economic and social development" in the South China Sea, Xinhua reported yesterday. Beijing would "continue to build other civil facilities on occupied island reefs in the Nansha Islands", Hua said, using the Chinese name for the Spratlys. The activation of the lighthouses comes days after news that Washington was mulling sending ships within the next two weeks to waters inside the 12-nautical-mile zone that Beijing claims as territory around islands built in the Spratly chain. The Spratlys - mostly barren islands believed to be atop oil and natural gas deposits - straddle one of the world's busiest sea lanes. They are also claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei. "Beijing's move is aimed at safeguarding navigational safety," said Professor Wang Hanling, marine affairs and international law expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "It's an international service for fisheries, rescue missions and commercial ships." Shanghai-based naval expert Ni Lexiong agreed: "China is sending a message of peace amid heightened tensions … The lighthouses are purely for civilian use; they have no military value in modern wars." Tensions have been rising as the US and China's neighbours grow increasingly concerned about Beijing's maritime ambitions. Beijing lays claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. The US and the Philippines - worried that China's land reclamation around reefs and atolls could be used to base military equipment to intimidate other claimants and threaten freedom of navigation - have called for a freeze on such activity. China bristles at what it sees as US interference and says it is within its sovereign rights to develop islands made from sand piled on top of reefs and atolls. ^ top ^

The biggest losers: Beijing and Hong Kong economy to suffer from Washington-led free-trade deal (SCMP)
2015-10-10
Beijing and Hong Kong are grappling with the impact of a Washington-led free-trade agreement that could deal a blow to their respective economies and shave 2.2 per cent off the mainland's GDP, according to a Chinese economist. People's Bank of China research bureau chief economist Ma Jun made the forecast in joint research published by the official Shanghai Securities News yesterday, a day after Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Beijing would "evaluate comprehensively" the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that excludes Beijing. The mainland and Hong Kong emerged as two of the biggest losers of the deal, which covers about 40 per cent of the global economy and includes their top trade partners including the US, Japan, Vietnam and Australia. Some economists said the deal, pending further discussion and approvals in the 12 member countries, threatens China's position as "the world's factory". "All regional free-trade arrangements can cause some impact on the flow of trade and investment on non-members," Gao said. Dubbed "ABC" (Anyone but China), the trade deal is regarded as a US strategy to counter China's rising power in the region and has triggered fears that it will aggravate the downturn of China's exports and economy. Ma's estimate of China's forgone gross domestic product is larger than some economists' forecast of a drop of 0.14-0.5 per cent. China expected its economy to grow by approximately 7 per cent this year compared to 7.4 per cent last year, the slowest since 1990. TPP is seen as a higher-level free-trade agreement covering almost anything from investments, environment, labour and intellectual property to state-owned enterprises. Mizuho economist Shen Jianguang said the mainland should counterbalance the TPP through the existing One Belt, One Road trade strategy and free-trade agreements, and press ahead with fiscal reforms to embrace global challenges. A spokeswoman of Hong Kong's Trade and Industry Department said Hong Kong welcomed and supported regional initiatives in free trade. "The TPP, in which many of our major trading partners are participating, is on our close watch," she said in a written reply to the Post. "We will study the TPP text when it is available." Federation of Hong Kong Industries honorary chairman Stanley Lau Chin-ho said the deal might speed up the migration of Hong Kong factories from the mainland to TPP member countries such as Vietnam and Brunei. "The trade deal is unfavourable to Hong Kong," he said. "But it's not the end of the world." Lau said the central government should improve the mainland's operating environment to lift its competiveness, which has been eroded by rising wages, more demanding labour rules and industrial reform. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Clearing the air: Chinese leaders to consider pollution-cutting targets that actually might make a difference (SCMP)
2015-10-16
Beijing is likely to add new environmental protection targets, in addition to its traditional emissions-reduction goals, as top policymakers ponder five-year plans for 2016-2020, experts said ahead of a key Communist Party meeting. The country has never failed to meet its emissions-reduction targets for air and water pollution included in its past two five-year plans - but still the state of its air and inland waterways has steadily deteriorated. The new approach has grown out of mounting public anger over worsening smog, water and soil pollution, as well as widening distrust of the environmental authorities. Even deputy environmental minister Pan Yue admitted, in a candid interview with Xinhua last month, that authorities needed a better approach to environmental governance and to respond more quickly to public concerns. "Improvements in environmental quality should be the only gauge for our environmental protection efforts," Pan said. A key meeting will be held by the party from October 26 to 29 to discuss the five-year plan on steering economic and social development. While details of the new indicators remain sketchy, the environmental ministry has said more effort would be made to tackle air, water and soil pollution over the next five years. Taking air quality improvement as an example, Tsinghua University professor Hu Angang has proposed including targets for the number of cities that meet national air quality standards for the next five years. In 2014, only eight of 74 major cities in China met the air quality standards, according to official monitoring results. A year earlier, the number was only three. Tonny Xie, a director of the secretariat of the Clean Air Alliance of China, said improved air quality would be "core" to pollution fighting efforts in the coming years, adding that some regions already had set targets to reduce levels of the superfine PM2.5 particulates considered most dangerous to people. The central government set regional PM2.5 targets for the city clusters of Beijing-Tianjin -Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta in 2013 in response to the public outcry over the smog crisis. These targets will run till 2017. Similar targets could be rolled out for more cities and more pollutants. "The ultimate goal of tackling air pollution is to protect public health," Xie said. "Setting emission-reduction targets should be the means to achieve air quality improvement." Previous efforts to cut emissions met all of China's five-year goals but did not bring visibly improved air quality. The rapid surge in coal consumption to fuel breakneck industrial expansion wiped out any benefits brought by the emissions cuts, the environmental ministry has said. ^ top ^

Beijing seeks record number of civil servants as 'golden rice bowl' loses shine (SCMP)
2015-10-16
The mainland is hoping to recruit a record 27,817 people to the civil service this year due to a shortage of staff at the grass roots level. Vacancies are up by 5,500 from last year with 551 central government departments and institutes seeking new talent. The provincial offices of the State Administration of Taxation are hiring the most, with 27 provinces each looking for between 300 and 800 staff for county and district-level offices, according to the State Administration of Civil Service (SACS). Local border inspectors, customs officials and bank regulators are also in high demand, while the Foreign Ministry and the Commerce Ministry need 204 and 150 extra staff, respectively. The online application process began yesterday. A written exam - the National Civil Service Examination - takes place on November 29. Serving government employees are no longer allowed to apply, the SACS said. In the past, many grass roots civil servants took the national exam as a shortcut to promotion. The civil service is one of the most sought after employers among Chinese youth. It is referred to as 'the golden rice bowl' due to its job security and benefits, despite its modest salaries. In 2013, applications hit a high of 1.52 million, competing for about 20,000 positions. The most popular position was at a county office of the National Statistics Bureau in Chongqing, which had 9,470 candidates. Due to the fierce competition, dishonest behaviour in the exam has sometimes been uncovered. This year, under the revised Criminal Law, anyone caught cheating faces heavy fines or up to seven years in prison. Since President Xi Jinping launched his campaign against corruption and profligacy, allowances, gifts, banquets and other off-the-record benefits for civil servants have been strictly prohibited. In addition, Xi's reform of the civil service's salary and pension system have also reduced the job's attractiveness. After peaking in 2013, the number of applicants dropped by 100,000 the following year. This year, many universities said students were being "more rational" over whether to apply, China National Radio reported. It said the civil service no longer had the edge over other jobs in terms of benefits, adding that students "no longer swarm towards the [national exam]". ^ top ^

China eyes 110 nuke plants by 2030 (Global Times)
2015-10-16
China will build six to eight nuclear power plants annually for the next five years and operate 110 plants by 2030, a plan analysts believed would meet the urgent need for clean energy. China will invest 500 billion yuan ($ 78.8 billion) on domestically-developed nuclear power plants, the Beijing-based China Times reported on Thursday. Zhou Dadi, vice director of the China Energy Research Society, told the Global Times on Thursday that China is capable of building and managing a large number of nuclear power plants. "After decades of development, China boasts advanced technology and valuable experience to build more nuclear power plants," he added. According to the China Times, the country plans to increase its electricity generation capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020, three times the 2014 level. More than 110 nuclear power plants will be put into operation by the end of 2030, exceeding the number of plants in the US. The Chinese government put the brakes on nuclear power plant approvals after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011, calling for safety checks on nuclear power plants. The urgent need for clean energy to meet increasing power demand and reduce carbon dioxide emissions has led to the renewed development of nuclear projects, a nuclear safety expert at a Beijing-based energy cooperation, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Thursday. Zhou said that China generates only about 2 percent of its total electricity from nuclear power plants, while the average global proportion is 14 percent, adding that China is in a great position to develop its nuclear projects. He added that using nuclear power could also make China less dependent on imported energy such as gas and oil. However, the rapid expansion of nuclear power plants has led to safety and public concerns. He Zuoxiu, a theoretical physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times that China has yet to implement enough measures to develop safety control technology and facilities for nuclear power plants. According to He, four countries - the US, Japan, France and former Soviet Union - which have more than 50 nuclear power plants, suffered from nuclear accidents. He said the government should attach greater importance to other clean energy resources such as wind and hydroelectric power, which are abundant in China, instead of building too many nuclear power plants. Zhou, on the other hand, said that safety concerns should not stunt the industry. "Due to China's mature nuclear technology and strict safety controls, serious accidents are unlikely to happen," Zhou added. China's nuclear energy authorities have recently completed studies on 31 nuclear power plants in inland regions, the China Times reported in September. ^ top ^

China to gradually postpone statutory retirement age (Xinhua)
2015-10-15
China will gradually postpone its statutory retirement age, as its workforce retires the earliest in the world, said an official on Wednesday. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is set to publicize a reform plan on postponing the statutory retirement age, said minister Yin Weimin. According to Yin, the current policy was formulated in the early 1950s when average life expectancy was less than 50. With average life expectancy due to surpass 70, the retirement policy seems to be out of date and "unreasonable," Yin said. Currently, people retire aged no more than 55, compared to the mid-60s of many other countries, Yin noted. The reform plan will postpone the retirement age "step by step until it reaches a reasonable level," according to Yin. China has 210 million people aged 60 or above, accounting for 15.5 percent of the population. It is estimated that by 2020, this section of society will make up 19.3 percent of the population, and 38.6 percent in 2050. This will weigh heavy on government endowment insurance expenditure, as individual pensions have increased from 700 yuan (110.36 U.S. dollars) 10 years ago to more than 2,000 yuan currently. ^ top ^

China to set new 5-Year Plan (Global Times)
2015-10-13
The Communist Party of China (CPC) will convene a plenary session later this month to map out the next five-year economic blueprint under the current slowdown and lay out institutional Party reform plans to guarantee a better and effective national leadership. The fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee will be held in Beijing from October 26 to 29, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday. It is seen as the key step to fulfill the new Party leadership's vow to double the nation's GDP and per capita income by 2020. The announcement came at a Monday meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, presided over by CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping. The CPC approved two revised rules on clean governance and punishments for breaking Party rules at the meeting, while continuing discussions on the 13th Five-Year Plan - to be reviewed at the upcoming session, Xinhua reported. Five-Year Plans have been drawn up since 1953 to map strategies for overall economic and social development in China, setting growth targets and defining development policies. A statement issued after the meeting said that China has made major progress in national strength and global influence, as the nation is close to accomplishing the goals set by the 12th Five-Year Plan. "As uncertainty looms over the global economy, the world will set their eyes on China's new Five-Year Plan where they seek opportunities and direction," Cai Zhiqiang, a Party School of the CPC Central Committee professor, who also participated in the drafting of the 13th Five-Year Plan, told the Global Times. The 13th Five-Year Plan will work to promote people's well-being, strengthen economic construction and rule of law in the market economy, while further opening up to the outside world in all aspects, the Political Bureau said at a meeting in July. It has also vowed to continue modernizing governance and tightening up administration of the Party. "The next five years from 2016 will be epochal as it concerns strategic layout to accomplish its goals before the Party celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding," said Zhang Xixian, another professor with the Party School. The CPC was founded in 1921. In 2012, the CPC identified two goals, pledging to double the nation's GDP and per capita income by 2020 from that of 2010 and vowing that by 2050, China would become a modern socialist country that is rich, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. Zhang told the Global Times that the main task will be promoting urbanization throughout the nation, and villages will become township-level cities. "The most challenging task is still poverty relief, as tens of millions of our people still live below the poverty line. It is especially difficult to offer aid precisely to those in need," Zhang said, adding that the better-off regions in East China must also shoulder the responsibility to find a new goal for the nation after the first one is accomplished. As China undergoes a transition from an investment-oriented economy to an innovation-oriented one, a slower economic growth is unavoidable and a growth rate of no less than 5 percent is still impressive, said Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. Citing several experts, Economic Information, a newspaper affiliated to Xinhua, said Monday that China may cut its GDP growth target to 6.5 percent in the next five years, a further decrease from this year's goal of 7 percent. "This is all just normal fluctuation, and it can't serve as an indicator to be pessimistic about the Chinese economy. With a huge economic aggregation, a 6.5 percent growth rate also suggests an impressive economic growth, especially as the global average is less than 3 percent," an anonymous Beijing-based expert on the economy told the Global Times. Apart from a detailed policy-making process for a better-off society, analysts said that the Five-Year Plan will also include a modern system to combat corruption and guarantee the Party has an advanced and effective leadership to handle the problem under specific rules and regulations. "It is in line with the nation's modernization process to carry out institutional construction of the Party. All the reform measures also require political reform and Party construction to support the nation's development," Cai said. He added that the fifth plenary session may also issue announcements detailing punishments for some corrupt officials. Among these is Ling Jihua, a former CPC Central Committee member. He was expelled from the Party in July and was put under criminal prosecution for bribery. More than 100 officials at ministry level or above have been brought down in the anti-graft campaign since 2012, including 18 members or alternate members of the CPC Central Committee, China's top leadership, The Beijing News reported. ^ top ^

Son of detained Chinese human rights lawyer held after trying to flee to the United States (SCMP)
2015-10-12
The teenage son of a rights lawyer detained in a sweeping crackdown on civil society is under house arrest in northern China after he was caught in Myanmar while trying to escape to the United States, a family friend said on Monday. Bao Zhuoxuan, also known as Bao Mengmeng, is under 24-hour police surveillance at his grandparents' house in Inner Mongolia and is not allowed contact with the outside world, Liang Bo, a San Francisco-based family friend, said. Bao, 16, is the son of Wang Yu, a lawyer who disappeared on July 9 amid a rounding up of dozens of rights lawyers and social activists in a broad crackdown on groups that seek changes in society and that operate outside the Communist Party. Wang has represented people involved in politically-sensitive cases and earlier this year was the legal counsel for one of five women's rights activists jailed over a planned event against sexual harassment. Bao and his father were detained on the same day by police at Beijing's international airport on their way to Australia where Bao was to attend high school. Bao was released after two days, but his passport was revoked, Zhou said. His parents are still missing. Chinese authorities routinely put pressure on activists by targeting their family members. After his release the teenager was watched and harassed by police in Beijing and at times beaten by them, said Liang, who was intending to look after Bao in San Francisco. Beijing police did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. San Francisco-based rights campaigner Fengsuo Zhou, who was involved in the escape plan and was to help Bao seek refuge in the US, said: “He has expressed his will to study abroad and eventually study law, like his mother.” Zhou travelled to the Thai capital of Bangkok and grew worried when Bao failed to meet him there last week. He said that Bao and two men helping him leave China were taken by local police in a Myanmar border town on October 6, citing information from the guest house in Mong La. Liang said Bao was with his mother's parents in Ulanhot city. Calls to two numbers for Bao's grandmother were not answered. People who answered calls to Ulanhot police's general and criminal investigation offices said they were not aware of the case. The two men helping him to leave China were Tang Zhishun, 40, an engineer from Beijing, and Xing Qingxian, 49, a human rights activist in the southwest city of Chengdu, Zhou said. Their whereabouts was unknown. ^ top ^

Reforms spark legal brain drain (China Daily)
2015-10-12
Jiang Yangbing was a judge at an intermediate people's court in Zhanjiang city, Guangdong province, until June last year, when he quit his post because of stressful working conditions and concerns about new guidelines related to independent verdicts. The 33-year-old lawyer said a number of cases related to administrative procedures or property disputes had left him with the double challenge of trying to quell dissent that could have sparked a mass incident, such as public protests, while also combating interference from the government departments involved. "I was so worried when the litigants argued or even fought in front of me. It always upset me. I was desperate to escape," he said. Jiang resigned just a month before the July implementation of a series of pilot programs to reform the judiciary, initiated by the central leadership in 2013. He is the tip of an iceberg: Since January, 50 judges have voluntarily left the Shanghai judicial system, according to reports in the Yangcheng Evening News. The resignations followed the departure of 105 judicial officers, including 86 judges, in the city last year, a rise of 90 percent from 2013. Mu Ping, president of the Beijing High People's Court, confirmed the talent drain, saying that more than 500 legal officers in the capital have resigned in the past five years. Some insiders accepted that more judges will resign as the reform process deepens, but insisted that the changes will prove beneficial in the long run. He Xiaorong, director of the Judicial Reform Office under the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, said the pain caused by the process will be temporary, and urged judicial officials to view the reforms though a long lens. In September, President Xi Jinping ratified higher salaries for court officials and prosecutors, and also signed off new administrative procedures to ensure greater independence for judges and legal officers and challenge the widely held misconception that they are little more than civil servants. Zhang Xiaojin, a judge at the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, said reform always impinges on someone's interests, "but I strongly feel that the aim is to provide us (legal officials) with more protection and benefits. That's why I intend to stay in my post. "I've witnessed the achievements fostered by the reforms, including the setting up of the IP court last year, which has made the conduct of cases more professional," he said. "I'll carry on, and I hope the reforms will prove positive and successful." In 2009, Jiang was excited to be appointed as a full judge, qualified to oversee disputes independently. The promotion meant he was freed from the constraints of the "judicial panel" system, under which a team of judges who may not have even been present in court presided over verdicts and sentencing. However, a year later, he found himself deeply depressed because of interference by litigants, who often refused to accept his verdicts and lobbied against them, and, occasionally, from governmental departments who pushed for retrials if they were dissatisfied with the outcomes of cases. […] The Supreme People's Court now requires every court to collate and record all evidence and legal advice submitted during cases as a means of maintaining impartiality and ensuring independent verdicts. […] The result has been an explosion in the number of cases, further increasing the pressures on judges. Jiang Ying, a chief judge at the Beijing IP court, said the large number of new cases means her working day has been extended, and she often works in her chambers until after midnight. The workload has left her exhausted and concerned about the accuracy of her judgments. […] [Judge Zhang Wei] welcomed the news that the central leadership passed proposals in September to raise the salaries of judicial officers, saying the development would encourage people still working in the system. In September, the Supreme People's Court issued a guideline clarifying judicial officers' responsibilities, and stipulating that judges will be offered protection if they are threatened, slandered or libeled. The guideline also pledged that judges will face heavy punishments if they are found to have accepted bribes, acted corruptly or handed down intentionally incorrect verdicts. "Better protection and a more-transparent approach will set the minds of judicial officials at rest. I hope the new guidelines will be implemented as soon as possible," Zhang Wei said. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing hosts 1st Marxism congress (Global Times)
2015-10-16
China attaches great importance to the past weekend's first World Congress on Marxism in Beijing in solving its growing social and economic problems during the transition period, and the event offered a chance for China to spread Marxist ideology, observers said on Sunday. As the biggest academic conference on Marxism held in China, the congress, "Marxism and the Development of the Human Race," attracted more than 400 Marxist scholars from 20 countries. The discussions center on China's development path, theories and systems, together with the worldwide influence exerted by Marxism to promote human development, the Guangming Daily reported on Sunday. Observers said that the congress helped address China's concerns during a critical transition. "China faces an increasing number of problems in the midst of its economic slowdown and deepening reform, such as corruption and the growing income gap, which require the country to use Marxism to explain and solve them," Xin Xiangyang, a research fellow on Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. The congress also provided an opportunity for Western countries to learn from China, as China's adherence to Marxism for decades has made huge headway in both social and economic development, while the Western world has not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, Xin said. Observers said that since President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of Marxist ideology, there has been a resurgence of the ideology as the theoretical foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in China. President Xi said in January that Marxist philosophy provides CPC members with the right approach to problem-solving, as China continues its path of reform and development. He stressed several times "sinicization" and modernization of Marxism in his speeches since 2013. Roderick MacFarquhar, a Harvard University professor, said at the conference that the "Chinese dream" proposed by President Xi is the creative development of Marxism by Chinese Marxists, which will make great contributions and exert a positive impact on human development. However, China still faces challenges in adopting Marxism. China has not reached a level of "common prosperity" as stated in Marxist thought. Corruption still exists, while Marxism has called for clean government, Wang Zhanyang, director of the Political Science Department at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times. Peking University, sponsor of the congress, has attached increasing importance to Marxism. It held a foundation-laying ceremony in May for a building named after German philosopher Karl Marx, to celebrate his 197th birth anniversary. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan author convicted on security charges released from jail, says rights group (SCMP)
2015-10-15
A Tibetan author jailed by China for writing a book about the Himalayan region has been released after a decade in prison, a US-based rights group said. Dolma Kyab, 39, was freed last week after he was convicted a decade ago of “endangering state security”, the International Campaign for Tibet said. Kyab's trial happened in secret in Tibet's capital Lhasa and only came to light after a letter he wrote while incarcerated was smuggled out of prison months after his 2005 sentencing. According to a copy of the letter seen by the rights group at the time, Kyab said he was imprisoned because of the ideas he expressed in his unpublished book The Restless Himalayas. He added that the authorities believed his writing was connected to Tibetan independence. In his book, Kyab wrote about conceptions of Tibetan identity as well as Tibetan hopes for exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to return to his homeland, the rights group said. “We live in a time of national devastation. We have weathered countless years of darkness, countless dark nights,” he wrote. He also discussed the “political burden” suffered by Tibetans because China's Han majority “impose their way of thinking onto Tibetans”, thus “destroying the concept the Tibetans have of themselves”. China has been accused of trying to eradicate its Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression and large-scale immigration by Han Chinese. Beijing says that Tibetans enjoy extensive freedoms and that it has brought economic growth to the region. Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959 and established a government-in-exile in Dharamsala in India. After his release from the Qushui Prison in Lhasa, Kyab was taken back to his hometown, where family and friends draped him with white blessing scarves, the International Campaign for Tibet said. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Pan-democrats shut out as Hong Kong's pro-Beijing camp regains leadership of key Legco funding subcommittees (SCMP)
2015-10-16
Hong Kong's pro-establishment camp yesterday regained the leadership of two key Legislative Council subcommittees that vet government funding requests. The development came after the camp last week monopolised the leadership of the top two overseeing bodies in the legislature - the House Committee and the Finance Committee. It marks a further souring of relations between pan-democrats and Beijing loyalists. The camp will continue its bid today to grab the chairman posts in 16 out of Legco's 18 panels examining government policies. "It was they who ruined the convention last year … We will not give as much away as we did in the past," said Ip Kwok-him, who is responsible for coordinating the pro-establishment camp in Legco. Last year, the pan-democrats, in a move that caught the rival camp unprepared, sent most of its members to the two subcommittees - establishment and public works - to secure a majority. That made it possible for them to take the chairmanships and vice-chairmanships and start a "non-cooperation movement" to press the government for concessions on political reform, which ended in vain. This year, the pro-establishment camp has vowed to prevent this from happening. They outnumber pan-democrats in both subcommittees. In the election for the establishment subcommittee, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People's Party beat Kenneth Leung, chairman of the body in the last session, by 24 votes to 15. Leung also lost his bid for the vice-chairmanship to the Federation of Trade Unions' Wong Kwok-kin. That subcommittee makes recommendations to the Finance Committee on the government's proposals for creating and deleting directorate posts and for changes to the civil service structure. The Finance Committee has the final say. Similarly, in the public works subcommittee that makes recommendations to the Finance Committee on government expenditure proposals, former chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit, leader of the Civic Party, was defeated by the Business and Professionals Alliance's Lo Wai-kwok by 28 votes to 20. Leong also lost his bid for the vice-chairmanship to the Liberal Party's Frankie Yick Chi-ming. Ip said the camp planned to take the chairmanships of 16 out of 18 panels at elections today. Those not included are the health services and welfare services panels. ^ top ^

Political move or defensive measure? PLA set to base surface-to-air missiles in Hong Kong (SCMP)
2015-10-14
Experts have weighed in on a report that the People's Liberation Army will set up a land-to-air missile base at Hong Kong's Shek Kong military airfield, suggesting the move was motivated not by local political concerns but rather an overdue strengthening of the city's defensive capabilities. The latest Chinese-language edition of the Canada-based Kanwa Defence Review said the PLA would deploy a Hongqi-6 missile battalion at the base in the New Territories later this year. The HQ-6 system usually consists of six flatbed trucks with missiles housed on their backs, supported by smaller artillery units. The missiles have a range of 18km and are used to destroy low- to medium-flying air threats. The magazine based its claim on Google satellite images of the base, which showed landscaping work in line with preparatory work for such a system. Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said satellite pictures he saw proved the missiles would be deployed in Shek Kong, and such a deployment in Hong Kong was unprecedented. But he did not believe there was a political motive. "Hong Kong has long been too weak in its anti-aircraft capabilities," said Wong, adding the capacity was almost non-existent in the city and would still be "limited" after the deployment. Wong said the missiles would be deployed mainly to protect military aircraft at Shek Kong. The deployment was long overdue, Wong said, given that Taiwan, under the government of Lee Teng-hui, had said in the late 1990s it would not rule out attacks on Shanghai and Hong Kong in the event of war. Professor Lin Chong-pin, a former deputy defence minister of Taiwan, said he had reservations about the move because even if the PLA was planning to counter potential military threats, it could choose any base in Guangdong or Hainan. Hong Kong-based military observer Liang Guoliang said the PLA's two advanced lightweight Type 056 stealth frigates, based at Stonecutters Island naval base, could defend the city from air and sea threats. Wong said the missile deployment may signal future deployments of attack aircraft such as the WZ-10 helicopter in Hong Kong. Fighter jets cannot be stationed in the city due to the limitations of the airfield. The PLA Hong Kong garrison and the government did not immediately respond to requests for comment last night. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Did Beijing legislative chief swipe at troublesome Hong Kong while praising Macau's 'cooperative' lawmakers? (SCMP)
2015-10-14
The state leader who oversees Hong Kong and Macau affairs praised Macau legislators yesterday for their cooperation with the government, and spoke highly of their role in "safeguarding" an "executive-led" system in the former Portuguese enclave. Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People's Congress, made the remarks in Beijing when he received a delegation of Macau lawmakers - the first such visit since Macau's handover in 1999. Hong Kong lawmakers have never been invited on such a trip, and some in the city saw the delegation and Zhang's comments as a swipe at the Hong Kong legislature, which often gives the government a rough ride. Other observers cautioned against reading too much into the event. Zhang shook hands with the 31 lawmakers who accepted the invitation from the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Two pan-democratic lawmakers had declined to attend. He was effusive in his praise, saying the central government "fully recognised" the Macau legislature's work, in particular its "very positive role in upholding the 'one country, two systems' principle, the Basic Law, the rule of law, the prosperity and stability of Macau, and the executive-led government system". Assembly president Ho Iat-seng, who led the delegation, pledged to do better still. "Despite the passage of the national security law, we shall continue to work on stopping foreign forces from interfering with our internal affairs," he said, referring to the enactment of anti-subversion laws under Article 23 of Macau's Basic Law. Hong Kong has yet to enact such legislation under its Basic Law amid massive public opposition. Ho said Zhang did not mention Hong Kong specifically. Ho added: "If the executive and legislative branches do not have mutual trust, or mutual respect, it will be the residents who will suffer the most." In Hong Kong, People Power legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip suspected Zhang's remarks were an indirect attack on the Hong Kong pan-democrats. "But we couldn't care less. I don't think it is a good thing at all if we got praise from the communist leaders. This can be a kiss of death," Chan said. He was pessimistic that such a delegation from Hong Kong would be invited to Beijing any time soon. But veteran China-watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu cautioned against "second guessing". "Beijing knows well the situation in Hong Kong and it will not expect Hong Kong's pan-democrats to become as quiet as their Macau counterparts," Lau said. A Hong Kong government spokesman said it was "happy to create opportunities" for lawmakers to better understand the views of the central government. Au Kam-san, one of the two Macau lawmakers who declined to go, said the praise from Zhang was nothing to be proud of. "There did not seem to be any chance to exchange views with Zhang. We saw that the legislators were just sitting there, getting lectured," he said, adding that the invitation lacked sincerity. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's airstrip in Spratly Islands ready for planes (SCMP)
2015-10-15
Taiwan has renovated an airstrip and constructed a lighthouse on an island it administers in a disputed area of the South China Sea, government officials said. A Taiwanese coastguard official said the runway overhaul on Taiping Island, which forms part of the Spratly Archipelago, was completed in September. "Planes can now land and take off," the official said. Observers have speculated that the airstrip has been improved to accommodate F-16 fighter aircraft and P-3C anti-submarine surveillance planes, but Taiwan's defence ministry spokesman Major General David Lo has said it was planned for flight safety and humanitarian tasks carried out by C-130 transport planes. An official at the Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau, which was awarded the runway reconstruction contract, said refurbishment of the 1,195-metre-long landing strip included expanding the hangar area to accommodate two C-130 planes. Other improvements include a new runway surface, lighting, a storm sewer line, oil tanks and oil transmission pipelines. The runway on Taiping is the third longest on islands in the South China Sea, according to an analysis released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. The construction of a solar-powered lighthouse on the 489,600-square-metre island, which is the largest of the naturally occurring Spratlys, was completed last week, a maritime and port bureau official said. It will be ready to enter operation after an inspection likely to be conducted in December. The bureau said the purpose of building the lighthouse on Taiping was to strengthen national sovereignty and protect navigation safety. The mainland, which has been aggressively pursuing its maritime territorial claims in East Asia, recently completed the construction of two lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef in the Spratlys, while vowing to build more such installations on islands under its control in the South China Sea. Beijing says its projects are largely for civilian and nonmilitary purposes, despite international criticism of its massive land reclamation work and infrastructure development in the area. Taiwan's coastguard is also building a new pier to be completed by the end of this year. The docking facility will be a home port to 100-tonne coastguard cutters and could accommodate 3,000-tonne naval frigates, Wang Chung-yi, the coastguard minister, said. Disputes in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, also involve Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.. ^ top ^

Talks between Beijing and Taipei end with no deal on air travel (SCMP)
2015-10-15
Beijing and Taipei held ministerial talks in Guangzhou yesterday on transport, trade and other issues, but reached no consensus on letting mainland air travellers transfer in Taiwan en route to and from foreign destinations. Andrew Hsia, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said after meeting Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the mainland's State Council, that Taipei hoped Beijing would allow such transfers by the end of the year. “They said they are willing to consider it in a pragmatic manner,” he said, adding that such transfers were an international practice and implementation should not be a problem. The main sticking point is that Beijing wants Taipei, in exchange for assenting to its request, to allow mainland planes to fly directly to and from the island through the Taiwan Strait instead of having to use circuitous routes. Taipei insists on handling the two issues separately and hopes Beijing will first agree to allow mainland travellers to transfer in Taiwan and then talk about “bettering cross-strait flights” later. Hsia told Zhang he hoped the two sides could wrap up negotiations on an agreement on trade in goods, which would be a follow-up to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement they signed in June 2010, by the end of this year and seal the deal as soon as possible. Hsia and Zhang agreed to “practically handle problems” concerning the establishment of representative offices of Taiwan's quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, both authorised by respective governments to handle cross-strait negotiations. They also agreed to reach a consensus on environmental protection and that cross-strait economic cooperation and Taiwan's wish to take part in regional economic integration should “complement each other”. It is Hsia's second meeting with Zhang since assuming his position in February this year and the fourth ministerial-level talks between the two sides since February last year, which were the highest-level talks since they split amid a civil war in 1949. ^ top ^

Taiwan's KMT accused of bribing presidential candidate to abandon run (SCMP)
2015-10-15
Taiwan prosecutors said yesterday they were investigating claims the embattled ruling Kuomintang (KMT) tried to bribe unpopular presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu to step down. It is the latest setback for the KMT which is widely tipped to lose the presidential elections in January. The party is in disarray after endorsing pro-Beijing Hung in July to run for the leadership despite her conservative views that fly in the face of public sentiment as fears grow over Beijing's influence on the island. Hung is trailing behind the candidate of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, in the polls, but has refused to heed calls to stand aside. A DPP legislator filed a complaint to prosecutors last week, alleging KMT chairman Eric Chu Li-luan had offered Hung benefits to persuade her to quit the presidential race, violating election laws. The complaint by Chen Ting-fei says Chu asked Hung to step down on three separate occasions, citing media reports. Chu violated the presidential election act by “offering bribes or other undue benefits” to persuade Hung to abandon her campaign, according to a copy of the complaint. No original evidence was given by Chen. Unsourced local media reports have said Hung demanded NT$500 million (HK$119 million) to step down as candidate. “We've received the case and should open the investigation today,” Kuo Wen-tung, director of the special investigation division of the Supreme Prosecutors Office, said yesterday. “If during the course of the investigation we need to summon Chu, we will do so,” Kuo said. The KMT and Hung have both denied any bribes changed hands. Hung has also denied she demanded money to end her campaign. The KMT suffered its worst defeat yet in local elections last year, with its Beijing-friendly policy a key factor. Party big-hitters hung back from the presidential nomination in the face of a likely loss, leaving wildcard Hung to take the reins. The KMT has called an emergency congress on Saturday to vote on whether Hung should be replaced. Chu, currently mayor of New Taipei City, is expected to be nominated instead. “This is a critical moment of survival or death for the KMT,” he said at a party committee meeting. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China aims for 'new industrial revolution', but is it ready for one? Analysts say no (SCMP)
2015-10-15
China's Premier Li Keqiang has called for a “new industrial revolution” – upgrading traditional manufacturing through technological innovation – to revive the sputtering economy, but analysts say the country is still a long way from achieving that. Governments at all levels should explore technical reform and product innovation, Li said as he noted slowing industrial growth at a State Council meeting this week. Integrating the “Internet Plus” strategy – Beijing's push for more online start-ups and new technology in traditional sectors – with the move to improve the manufacturing sector would prompt a “new industrial revolution”, Li was quoted in a government statement as saying. Because in China, fewer factories have realised automation than in Germany, the Chinese have a longer way to go. e cited the example of an enterprise in Dalian, Liaoning province, that asked 280,000 engineers on an online platform to offer technical upgrade solutions for 30,000 types of machinery. Li stressed creating employment through industrial upgrading, CCTV reported on Thursday. The premier's remarks came as industrial output growth slowed to 6.1 per cent year on year in August – a small improvement from July's 6 per cent but lower than June's 6.8 per cent. Beijing has stepped up infrastructure spending to stem the slowdown. The National Development and Reform Commission on Thursday said it had approved six infrastructure construction projects totalling 68.5 billion yuan (HK$83.5 billion) on top of four railway projects given the green light this week. But analysts say it will take time for China to find new growth areas robust enough to offset its traditional industries' decline. Bank of Dongguan economist Chen Long said the key sectors had yet to see any major breakthrough and that “a virtuous cycle of industrial growth and development of industrial chains has yet to be established”. “The 'new industrial revolution' is a big slogan with no new meaning in practice,” Chen said, expressing concern that technological upgrading would only push up costs for traditional manufacturers already struggling with weak demand. Beijing unveiled its “Made in China 2025” plan in May, aiming to transform the country into a manufacturing giant in a decade. Michael Clauss, German ambassador to China, said the plan was similar to Germany's Industry 4.0 strategy, which first required full automation in the manufacturing sector before digitalisation could be achieved. “But because in China, fewer factories have realised automation than in Germany, the Chinese have a longer way to go,” Clauss told the South China Morning Post. Shanghai-based market research agency Horizon Insight said Li's message was in line with China's policy stance on industrial transition. “[Industrial transition] will be the direction in the long run,” it said. “Although the industrial sector has shrunk, progress has been made in manufacturing upgrading, such as in new-energy mobiles and nuclear power.” ^ top ^

Graft probe nets another executive at China Southern (SCMP)
2015-10-12
A senior manager at the mainland's largest airline, China Southern Airlines, who was once reprimanded spending public funds to play golf, has been taken away for investigation as a sector-wide graft probe deepens. Liu Qian, an executive vice-president in charge of operations, was taken away on Friday, a source told the South China Morning Post. A director at Zhuhai Flight Training Centre, a China Southern subsidiary in Zhuhai, was also taken away, and inquiries were made about at least one other senior manager at the airline, the source also said. A China Southern spokesman said he was “not aware of the situation” and insisted “everything is normal”, but he declined to comment on whether Liu was performing his role. China's booming aviation industry is among the latest targets of Communist Party graft busters who have been making rounds to examine state-owned enterprises and government bodies across the mainland. The probe into the airline sector, which started with a visit to China Southern by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in December, has resulted in a major management reshuffle at the airline after four senior executives were removed and detained for “job-related crimes” – a euphemism for corruption – in January. They were chief financial officer Xu Jiebo and deputy managers Chen Gang, Zhou Yuehai and Tian Xiaodong. Liu, 52, a veteran pilot, joined the airline in 2004 from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and has been overseeing operations as well as the Zhuhai centre, according to China Southern's website. He received remuneration of 1.397 million yuan last year according to the company's annual report, making him the highest-paid manager. In April this year Liu received a “serious warning” from the party and an administrative sanction for playing golf on public funds, while Zhang Zhong and Lin Qingtong, two managers at the Zhuhai centre, were also warned and made to return the funds, according to a notice on the CCDI's website. But it is understood Liu's job had not been affected by the warning and he had been performing his role between April and now. CAAC, Air China and China Eastern Airlines were among units visited by the CCDI in the latest round of inspections that started in July. At least three CAAC officials have since been taken away on suspicion of corruption according to mainland media. Beijing Capital Airport said in a notice to the Hong Kong stock exchange on September 17 that its general manager, Shi Boli, had resigned from his post and all directorships at the company, after media reports emerged that Shi, a former CAAC official, had also been taken away for investigation. ^ top ^

Beijing's Zhongguancun focuses on serving innovation, start-ups (Xinhua)
2015-10-11
Beijing's Zhongguancun, one of the country's leading technology hubs, plans to upgrade its core 7.2-km-long street area into one serving innovation and business start-ups, they announced Sunday. Under the plan, the area will cover key universities such as Peking and Tsinghua and electronics shopping centers. Some 36 office buildings are on both sides of the street, which houses more than 6,000 companies. The street will shift to providing services to boost technological financing, innovation and business start-ups, creative culture as well as industries related to information, big data and smart hardware. "After the transformation, the street will be a window for the outside to see the achievements in innovation and start-ups of Zhongguancun," said Yan Xiumin, deputy director of the Zhongguancun Haidian Park. In June 2014, a 220-meter-long section of the street started transformation and has attracted nearly 40 companies serving business start-ups. The street aims to realize a remarkable improvement in serving innovation by 2020. The technological area based in Haidian District is the country's first innovation demonstration zone approved by the State Council in 2009 and aims to become a technological innovation center with global influence. In the first eight months, revenue of the high-tech firms in Zhongguancun reached 2.1 trillion yuan (333 billion U.S. dollars), up 10.8 percent year-on-year.  ^ top ^

 

DPRK

China shifts focus in North Korea to regional stability as denuclearisation takes backseat (SCMP)
2015-10-12
China has subtly shifted its stance towards North Korea as it tries to improve ties strained over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes and rein in its young leader from taking more provocative steps, analysts say. China's fifth-ranked official Liu Yunshan prioritised the stability of the Korean Peninsula over denuclearisation issues as he spoke to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on his visit to Pyongyang last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country's ruling party. “China upholds the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula,” Liu said before he briefly touched on denuclearisation. Liu's remarks signalled Beijing's shift in stance, said Jilin University's Professor Sun Xingjie. “Liu reversed the order of the two issues in Beijing's long-held official line on North Korea.” Just last month in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Xi Jinping still stressed denuclearisation over regional stability. But in a congratulatory message to Kim last week, Xi made no mention of the nuclear programme, saying simply that Beijing hoped to work with Pyongyang to pursue peace. “Beijing's bottom line now is that Kim must not go any further on the [nuclear or missile] tests. Part of Liu's mission in Pyongyang was also to warn Kim against doing so,” Sun said. China affairs expert Lee Jung-nam, from Korea University's Asiatic Research Institute, said Beijing's attempt to mend fences with Pyongyang was also to rebalance its stance between the North and the South. “If not for Liu's attendance [at the Pyongyang event], Kim would seem isolated,” Lee said. Possibly in return for Beijing gracing the anniversary event, Kim made no mention of his nuclear programmes in his speech. He also did not launch any satellite or long-range rocket during the military parade, contrary to Western analysts' expectations. “But we need to wait and see whether Beijing has successfully talked Kim out of a launch,” Lee said. “It would be a loss of face for Beijing if Kim launched [a satellite or rocket] during South Korean President Park Geun-hye's US visit later this week.” ^ top ^

Sino-NK ties 'show progress' (Global Times)
2015-10-12
Chinese President Xi Jinping's congratulations to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday, together with his signed letter and Kim's meeting with a senior Chinese official in Pyongyang, indicate progress in Sino-North Korean relations, said experts. Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) has made remarkable achievements in economic development and improving people's livelihood, said Xi's message to congratulate Kim on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the WPK. Xi said China is willing to make joint efforts with North Korea to maintain, consolidate and develop the China-North Korean friendship, in a bid to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining regional as well as world peace and stability, the Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday. Kim said the North Korean-China friendship is the biggest heritage of diplomacy inherited from late presidents Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It is the firm and resolute position of the WPK and the North Korean government to carry on and expand the bilateral friendship, Kim said during his meeting with Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Friday. The acknowledgement of past progress and the determination to retain the friendship shows a positive attitude from both sides, Yu Shaohua, a North Korean studies expert from the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. As a neighboring country of China, North Korea's stability is of great significance to the development in Northeast Asia, which China must see and value, added Yu. For North Korea, China is an irreplaceable partner amid its underachieved efforts to promote diplomacy diversity with European and Southeast Asia countries, Cui Zhiying, a professor specializing in South Korea at Tongji University in Shanghai, told the Global Times. About 90 percent of North Korea's international aid comes from China, Cui said. Bonds that are shaped through time cannot be easily severed by disagreement, Zhao Lixin, director of the Department of International Political Science at Yanbian University, told the Global Times. China needs to solve the problems while improving relations, instead of cutting down the ties, Cui said. North Korea has always attached great importance to its relation with China. Of Kim's six meetings with foreign officials after he assumed power, four were with Chinese officials, The Beijing News reported. On the issue of the Korean Peninsula, Kim said at the meeting with Liu that the North Korea is willing to make efforts to improve relations between the North and the South and safeguard the stability of the peninsula. Though more efforts are needed, China's reiteration of its principle on nuclear issues during the meeting shows China's praiseworthy stance of shouldering the responsibility as a major power, Yu said, adding that Kim, who used to show his tough position on developing nuclear weapons, avoided mentioning his efforts in nuclear weapons development on Saturday, which showed his understanding of China's stand. ^ top ^

Let's be friends and help world peace, Chinese president Xi Jinping tells Kim Jong-un (SCMP)
2015-10-10
Communist Party chief Xi Jinping sent congratulations to his North Korea counterpart Kim Jong-un as Beijing's senior envoy Liu Yunshan arrived in Pyongyang yesterday to attend the ruling Workers' Party's 70th anniversary. Xi said he hoped to make joint efforts with Pyongyang "to maintain, consolidate and develop the friendship" between the countries "so as to play a positive and constructive role in maintaining regional as well as world peace." Ties between Beijing and Pyongyang have improved after a prolonged period of strain caused by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. Last month, Xi sent a congratulatory message to Kim for the 67th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on September 9, 1948. Liu, the Communist Party's fifth-ranked leader, will take part in events marking the Workers' Party anniversary and is likely to hold talks with Kim. Mainland-based international public affairs experts said Liu's trip would focus on enhancing diplomatic, economic and trade ties. "Liu will raise China's concern on North Korea's development of nuclear weapons as divergence between Beijing and Pyongyang on this issue has increased since the DPRK had its third nuclear test in 2013," Cui Zhiying, a professor of Korean affairs at Tongji University in Shanghai, said. Xinhua said Liu's visit would last four days. This is the first time China has sent someone from the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee to North Korea since Kim Jong-un took over in December 2011. The last confirmed visit by a member of China's top circle of power was in October 2011 when Premier Li Keqiang, then vice-premier, paid a three-day official goodwill visit. [We should] maintain, consolidate and develop the friendship Xi Jinping North Korean watchers are paying attention to see if the visit by Liu will pave the way for a dramatic improvement in relations. Gao Haikuan, a specialist in Northeast Asian security with the Chinese Association for International Friendly Contact, said China would continue providing reasonable economic and trading support to North Korea even though Beijing had agreed that Kim was an elusive negotiator. "Liu is responsible for party affairs, he will send Beijing's message to consolidate the relationship with Pyongyang's Workers' Party of Korea, because stable bilateral ties will help China to push denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsular," he said. The celebrations for the anniversary include a military parade featuring tens of thousands of soldiers, tanks and weapons, and citizens who will extol the North Korean party's achievements and display their loyalty to Kim. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

New head of Standing committee on justice appointed (Montsame)
2015-10-15
At its plenary meeting on Thursday, the parliamentary session discussed an issue of selecting a new head of the Standing committee on justice. With 80.4% votes of parliamentarians at the plenary meeting, D.Ganbat MP was elected as the head of the parliamentary Standing committee on justice. The same day, majority of MPs considered as necessity to discuss a draft amendment to the law on excise tax as well as a draft amendment to the 1999 parliamentary resolution on approving sizes of customs tax on import products at parliament. A draft amendment to the law on stamp duty was not backed. ^ top ^

Ch.Saikhanbileg PM pays courtesy call on Germany's President (Montsame)
2015-10-15
The Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Ch.Saikhanbileg was received Thursday by Mr Joachim Gauck, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), who is paying a state visit here. The Premier thanked the Germany's President for visiting Mongolia, and hoped that this visit will give impetus to brining the bilateral relations and cooperation into a new volume. Mongolia considers the FRG as its main partner in Europe and attaches a great importance to the ties and cooperation with Germany, the Premier emphasized, and added the countries are possible to enrich their relations and cooperation with economic contents. The FRG President Mr Gauck expressed his satisfaction with paying the state visit to Mongolia, and said he is hopeful the mutual visits of the two countries will contribute to widening the bilateral relations and cooperation.  ^ top ^

Speaker meets with Wang Jiarui (Montsame)
2015-10-16
A delegation led by Mr Z.Enkhbold, Parliament Speaker and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Mongolia, was received Wednesday by Mr Wang Jiarui, director of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and deputy head of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Mr Wang expressed thanks to the Mongolian delegation for taking part in the "Asian Political Parties' Special Conference on the Silk Road" in Beijing. In response, Mr Enkhbold expressed said he is glad to meet with Mr Wang as being the Democratic Party (DP) Chairman of Mongolia. He underlined that the visit of the Deputy Minister of the International Liaison Department of the CCPC to Mongolia was an expression of a sustainable development of the bilateral friendly relations and cooperation. Expressing his satisfaction with an intensive development of the Mongolia-China friendly relations and cooperation in all spheres, the Speaker underlined boosting a sustainable development of the friendly ties and mutually-beneficial cooperation with China is one of the priorities of the Mongolia's foreign policy. The dignitaries discussed issues of implementing developmental strategies of the two countries, and confirmed that the countries have faced a requirement of sharing information and experiences in working out policies and directions between the political parties. “Although political parties in Mongolia have their own ideologies and views, they bear a general position on developing long-term and friendly relations and cooperation with China,” Mr Enkhbold highlighted. The Speaker also expressed his satisfaction with boosting of the ties and cooperation between the DP and the Communist Party of China (CPC), and hoped that the inter-party cooperation and exchange will broaden. Mr Wang Jiarui supported ideas of the Speaker. Present at the meeting were Mr Ts.Sukhbaatar, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to China; G.Batkhuu, S.Odontuya MPs; L.Erkhembayar, Acting Secretary-General of the DP; and other officials. Following the meeting, Mr Wang Jiarui held a banquet with the delegation of Mongolia. ^ top ^

Speaker Z.Enkhbold leaves for China (Montsame)
2015-10-15
Speaker of parliament and Chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Mr Z.Enkhbold Wednesday flew to China to take part in the "Asian Political Parties' Special Conference on the Silk Road". The October 14-16 event will be attended also by G.Batkhuu MP, the secretary of the DP; S.Odontuya MP, a board member of the Union of Democratic Women (UDW); and L.Erkhembayar, the DP's acting secretary-general. Mr Enkhbold is supposed to address the opening of the measure and to meet Zhang Dejiang, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China. Moreover, the President of the People's Republic of China Mr Xi Jinpin is expected to receive the Mongolian delegation. The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) was launched in Manila in September 2000 to promote exchanges and cooperation between political parties from different Asian countries and with various ideologies; to enhance mutual understanding and trust among Asian countries; to promote Asia's regional cooperation through the unique role and channel of political parties. Since its inception, the ICAPP has grown steadily in both membership and influence. At first, few people thought that it would be possible to bring together competing governing, opposition and independent political parties in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Middle East and Oceania. The ICAPP meetings have been visionary, cordial, constructive and successful. Simply by bringing together Asia's political leaders in fraternal assemblies regularly, the ICAPP has become a positive force for mutual understanding among Asian countries and peoples. And now more than 370 political parties in 53 countries in the region with diverse political and ideological backgrounds are eligible to participate in ICAPP activities. Eight General Assemblies of the ICAPP, which have been held in Manila in 2000, Bangkok in 2002, Beijing in 2004, Seoul in 2006, Astana in 2009, Phnom Penh in 2010, Baku in 2012 and Colombo in 2014, brought together political leaders in the region to exchange opinions and communicate with each other, and helped strengthen unity among Asian countries and propel Asia along the road toward stability and prosperity. The ICAPP Standing Committee, which is comprised of the leading political parties from 23 countries representing different sub-regions of Asia, has also been meeting regularly, more than twice a year since 2004, to organize ICAPP activities and programs in an effective and concerted way. ICAPP special conferences and workshops have also been convened on key challenges in the region. The first special conference was held in Seoul in May 2008 on the topic of state subsidies for mainstream political parties as a means to prevent political corruption. Another special conference was held on the making of new democratic constitution in Kathmandu, Nepal, in June 2009. Since then, special conferences have been more focused on the issues targeted by U.N. Millennium Development Goals: on poverty alleviation in Kunming, China, in July 2010; on natural disasters and environmental protection in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May 2011; on development and people's access in Nanning, China, in September 2011; on promoting green development and building a beautiful Asia together in Xi'an, China, in May 2013; and on women's leadership and empowerment in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in September 2013. ^ top ^

Cabinet meeting in brief (Montsame)
2015-10-13
The cabinet meeting on Monday discussed and approved directive the a Mongolian delegation must adhere to at the 4th meeting of the Mongolia-Germany intergovernmental working group. This group is responsible for controlling implementation of an intergovernmental agreement on cooperating in mineral, industry and technology spheres. Its meeting will run this October 15 in Ulaanbaatar. - The cabinet also discussed and approved directives the Mongolian delegation must adhere to at the consultative meeting of the Mongolia-Germany intergovernmental developmental policy cooperation. The meeting will run this October 19 in Ulaanbaatar. - Directives for a Mongolian delegation was approved. It will take part in the first meeting of the Mongolia-Indonesia intergovernmental joint commission which will run this October 20-21 in Jakarta, Indonesia. - The cabinet discussed results of the Speaker's official visit to the Russian Federation (this September 20-23). An obligation was given to the FM L.Purevsuren to submit the matter to the National Security Council (NSC). - The cabinet also discussed results of the official visit of the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Jan Hamacek to Mongolia (July 29 to August 2, 2015). The issue will be submitted to the NSC. - The Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa gave a report on harvesting and a current situation in the land farming sphere. Together with a Minister of Finance she was told make reserve up to 20 thousand tons of wheat from the domestic harvest dedicated to the 2016 spring planting and to resolve a financial matter for purchasing the wheat. - A decision was made to establish the “Leasing financing for great construction” LLC and the “National Export Insurance” LLC as subsidiary companies at the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM). - The cabinet approved a composition of a state-private sector-civil society council, which will be responsible for organizing and controlling the matters on supply of petroleum products and stabilizing their prices. ^ top ^

"Hunting Eagle 2015" Mongolia-China joint military exercise starts (Infomongolia)
2015-10-12
Joint military exercise of the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) and the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China “Hunting Eagle” (Anchin Burged) has commenced at general exercise center of MAF in Mongolia on October 12, 2015. “Hunting Eagle - 2015” is the first joint special operations exercise of Mongolia and China, and it will continue six days until October 18, 2015. At the joint military exercise, troops of 084th unit of MAF and around 100 soldiers of special task force of 38th Beijing Military Region will train together to fight terrorism. Head of Operation Command Center of the General Staff of MAF, Brigadier General D.Ganzorig and Commander of Special Task Brigade of Beijing Military Region Lee Chee Feng were present at the opening. Moreover, on October 08, the Minister of Defense and State Councilor of the People's Republic of China, Colonel General Chang Wanquan arrived in Ulaanbaatar to conduct an official visit upon an invitation of the Minister for Defense of Mongolia, MP Ts.Tsolmon. On the same day, a ministerial level meeting between defense authorities of the two countries held at the Ministry of Defense. President Ts.Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg have received the Minister for National Defense of the Government of China on October 09, 2015. General Chang Wanquan conveyed the sincere greetings of President Xi Jinping to President of Mongolia. In response, President Elbegdorj conveyed his warm greetings to President Xi Jinping and congratulated the people of China for successfully organizing the 70th anniversary of the historical Victory of the Liberation War and the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Minister for Defense of Mongolia, Mr. Ts.Tsolmon, Ambassador of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Mongolia, Mr. Xing Haiming and other officials were present at the meetings. ^ 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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